Brown Girl Dreaming Syllabus


ypl_woodson_Brown_Girl_DreamingBrown Girl Dreaming–a memoir-in-verse that reads like a novel, but with all the imagery of poetry–allows students many levels on which to engage.

This sample syllabus is broken into 4 units, each with a major writing assignment and specific writing emphases. (The final assignment is a revision portfolio that asks students to significantly revise an earlier piece.)

For more course planning samples, see:

A general syllabus templates for 16-week courses.

Unit 1

ReadingsBrown Girl Dreaming, Part I: I Am Born (pp. 1- 41) and Part II: The Stories of South Carolina Run Like Rivers  (pp. 43-138)

Writing Emphases: Reflection, Compare/Contrast, Summary, Reading & Annotating

Assignment 1:

Reflection Essay: Audience 3 Ways


Unit 2

ReadingsBrown Girl Dreaming, Part III: Followed the Sky’s Mirrored Constellation to Freedom (pp. 141-203); Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies (The Atlantic, 2014).

Writing Emphases: Incorporating quotations; Summary; Synthesis; Reflection; Narration

Assignment 2:

Reading A Poem: 20 Strategies (Short Assignment Series)


Unit 3

ReadingsBrown Girl Dreaming, Part IV: Deep in my Heart, I Do Believe (pp. 205-278); “Young Adult Literature: An Author Strikes the Genre by Steven VanderStaay (English Journal, 1992).

Writing Emphases: Argument; Quotation incorporation & summary; Ethos, Pathos, Logos; Reflection & Narration

Assignment 3:

Letter: Young People’s Literature


Unit 4

ReadingsBrown Girl Dreaming, Part V: Ready to Change The World + Author’s Note (pp. 283-325)

Writing Emphasis: Revision

Assignment 4: Revision Portfolio. Students choose 1 or 2 assignments to revise, and compose a short revision narrative detailing their writing process and final revision successes.

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