Rubenstein offers specific, classroom-tested strategies for teaching Raymond Carver's short stories and poems in the high school English classroom.


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They call him Ray. Ray, as in "Are we going to read more Ray today?" or "D'ya think Ray would've liked my story?" For my students, Raymond Carver is as real as their baseball coach, the lunch line lady, or the man who drives the bus in the morning. I don't dissuade them. I think "Ray" would have welcomed their friendship.
—From the Introduction

Featuring biographical information, detailed discussion of specific short stories and poems, critical analysis, and innovative activities for teaching literature and writing, Raymond Carver in the Classroom: “A Small, Good Thing” takes you into the world and work of Raymond Carver, the “father of minimalism.”

Carver’s writing presents an honest and moving portrayal of modern American life, with a focus on a blue-collar culture. With his straightforward, stripped-down style, Carver reaches readers of all levels, and his writing inspires thoughtful reflection on what it means to be a human being in contemporary times.

This fourth volume in the NCTE High School Literature Series includes an array of activities and assignments that promote powerful student writing, allowing you to

  • Encourage visual learners by pairing Carver’s poetry and fiction with the study of the works of artists such as Edward Hopper and Maya Lin

  • Help students discover a unique approach to revision by studying Carver’s own writing process

  • Demystify poetry by having students read Carver’s and write their own, including catalog poems and “LISTEN to Me” poems modeled after Carver’s

  • Explore point of view by examining what happens when Carver and his wife, poet and fiction writer Tess Gallagher, tell the same tale from two very different viewpoints

  • Design Fact to Fiction projects that incorporate both memoir and fiction writing and that allow students to collaborate within and between classrooms

  • Develop students’ critical thinking skills by having them write reviews of Carver’s work

  • Spur classroom discussion with critical commentary and freewriting

Whether you’re new to the work of Raymond Carver or are looking for some fresh ideas for teaching his works, you’ll find this concise, practical resource guide a welcome addition to your professional library.

"Rubenstein's book does just what a book like this should do: gets readers excited about reading Carver and teachers excited about teaching him."
—John Gaughan, author of Reinventing English: Teaching in the Contact Zone

NCTE High School Literature Series. 119 pp. 2005. Grades 9–12.
ISBN 10: 0-8141-3831-4; ISBN 13: 978-0-8141-3831-1.

No. 38314

Click here for related ReadWriteThink lesson plans by Susanne Rubenstein.