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THE CURIOUS INCIDENT Report

I test-drove The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time with my ninth graders.  We read and discussed the book in a single week.  For my largely special-ed classes, this was a fast, fast read.  Because of the language, the book was also controversial.  I was waiting to see what would happen.  Now the unit and the school year are over, and I have some thoughts:

--This was the first book we did in which I didn't read any part of it aloud to the class.  Every bit of the reading was homework.  Unfortunately, a great many of my ninth graders weren't up to the task.  I tracked their reading by having them to annotations in the book or handing in short summaries of the plot.  Between a third and half of them didn't read each section, even though I made the audio version available to struggling readers, and there were five sections.  This was disappointing, to say the least, especially since the book isn't a difficult or archaic read.

--The ones who ddi read the book responded well to it.  They liked Christopher, and they liked the story, and they liked seeing a story from an autistic character's point of view.

--My austistic students, especially, reacted well.  One my ASD students, who struggles with school a lot, got very much into the book.

--The swearing didn't seem to bother any of the students.  (I didn't think it would.)  In class, I often put on a faux shocked demeanor about it.  ("Shocking language!  I know none of YOU have ever heard these words before.  It must be terribly difficult for you to see such things in print.")  They usually laughed.  "We've seen way worse!"

--The major plot twists (who killed Wellington the dog and what happened to Christopher's mother) truly startled the class and even made them a little upset.

--I pointed out that the author was using wee and poo (as Christopher puts it) as symbols, and the students thought that was absolutely splendid.
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