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Christina Dobbs

About Christina Dobbs

Christina Dobbs is an assistant professor of English Education at Boston University. She is a former high school teacher, literacy coach, and reading specialist, and she studied adolescent literacy at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Review of Pride

Pride by Ibi Zoboi High School    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    291 pp.    g 9/18    978-0-06-256404-7    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-256407-8    $9.99 Zuri Benitez is a proud Haitian-Dominican teen who loves her four sisters and her parents, and despite others’ negative perceptions, she especially loves her Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. When the wealthy African American Darcy brothers, Darius […]

Review of The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar

The Flying Girl: How Aída de Acosta Learned to Soar by Margarita Engle; 

illus. by Sara Palacios Primary    Atheneum    40 pp. 3/18    978-1-4814-4502-3    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-4503-0    $10.99 In this slightly fictionalized account (with brief invented dialogue) Engle and Palacios introduce readers to Aída de Acosta (1884–1962), who defied the sexist attitudes of her era […]

Using picture books to teach adolescents about genre

I teach a course every spring about methods in teaching writing, and one topic we learn about is teaching genre. Adolescents need a fairly broad understanding of a variety of genres, both reading and writing them, though often English classrooms focus heavily on reading novels and writing analytical essays. So every year, I make the […]

Writing for adults and adolescents

Last January, I was at the annual meeting of the School Reform Initiative, a wonderful organization that works to help schools find ways to communicate and collaborate more effectively.  I was thrilled to find out that the keynote speaker was Edwidge Danticat, a Haitian-American novelist I’ve loved for a long time. She delivered an important […]

What do ordinary people do during war?

This is one of the questions from a student that gave me pause a long time ago.  It was a sort of typical survey humanities course, and I vividly remember her interesting and important question. My own history education was often centered on primary sources or key events summarized neatly in a textbook, and I […]

Hester and relevance

Recently, I co-taught a course with a colleague from the BU English department (I’m in English education) about teaching American literature. A great deal of time is spent in the course considering what ‘counts’ as American literature, and my colleague convinced me we should read The Scarlet Letter. We chose this novel as a highly […]

Is the Internet killing reading?

Well, IMHO, no… One of the questions I am asked most often in classes and in trainings with teachers is about the Internet’s impact on students’ reading. It usually goes something like this… “Do you think the internet is killing reading?” I usually wonder silently if using the word “killing” means the asker has already […]

At least they aren’t reading romance

I have lots of conversations with teachers and teachers-in-training about what adolescents can, do, and should read. I don’t mind talking about what they can read or what they do read, but I get nervous when people start declaring what they should read, especially on their own time outside the curriculum. Recently, in a class […]

Telling and choosing our own stories

For this year’s Boston University/Boston Green Academy Summer Institute (which I’ve blogged about before), we decided to change up our usual routine of reading one book, and this year we chose two – Darius and Twig by Walter Dean Myers and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Our essential question for our rising ninth and […]

Intentions and He Said, She Said

I have written before about our summer program* with Boston Green Academy, and we just finished our two-week institute with ninth and tenth graders from BGA and my students from Boston University. For this summer’s core text, we chose the book He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander, and it has been fun to watch […]