Interviewing the Author

Literature is a relationship between the reader and the author, and better access by the reader depends on understanding the original intention of the author.  Interviewing the Author is a group activity that attempts to do such a thing.  In this exercise, students work in groups of 3-6 people, with on student role playing as the author and the rest acting as the interviewers.  This exercise is ultimately not only for the benefit of the students within the group, but rather the class as a whole who act as audience to this mock interview.  The process is designed to help clarify difficult vocabulary and analyzing the meaning of the text.

I feel that this activity is particularly useful in the case of a longer piece of reading.  While jigsawing readings help narrow down the scope of the assignment for a group of students well enough, Interviewing the Author has the benefit of making the meaning easier to understand with the usage of “plain words”.  The downside of course is time management.  During our own attempt at this activity, a rather large amount of in class time went into planning out the questions and answers.  In a normal 50 minute class, this may be unfeasible.  Perhaps leaving the planning phase as a homework assignment of some sort would work better.

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