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Use authoritative and comprehensive timelines when beginning a study of American Literature. Consider doing a paired study with the History teacher or at least try to coordinate some aspects of your study.
Choose authors that will appeal to the students in a variety of ways. This is especially important if you are limited to the amount of time you can spend over the course of a semester or marking period.
Pick works from individual authors that highlight their literary gifts as well as their contributions to society.
Put authors like Mark Twain, Earnest Hemmingway and Edgar Allen Poe into context with their historical time period. Talking about what was going on in society at the time of their writing really gives students insight into books like "Tom Sawyer" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
Discuss authors' personal lives, habits, attributes and difficulties as it relates to their literary timeline. Insight into the personalities of the authors will help give more understanding of their works.
Assign a literary portfolio project for students based on the life and works of one author. This is a great way to test students' knowledge at the end of a study of American Literature. Students' portfolios should include an analysis of the author's overall work including biographical information, a summary of the history of their time, a sampling of several literary forms with a summary and analysis of each and a few writing assignments that challenge the students to pattern their own writing after their particular author.
Read more: How to Study American Literature | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2154219_study-american-literature.html#ixzz1n5k1EOU4