Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Instruction and Curriculum: Secondary Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

Education Leadership & Counseling

First Advisor

Sherie Klee

Second Advisor

Douglas Busman

Third Advisor

Emily J. Davis

Academic Year



This project addresses the problem of student disengagement with traditional literature in high school English classes. Many students struggle to find relevance and engagement with canonical texts that are often centuries removed from their modern lives and experiences. This project aims to bridge this gap by integrating more contemporary literature alongside traditional texts to foster greater student interest, comprehension, and development of critical literacy skills. This project is grounded in theories that place emphasis on student choice, sociocultural relevance, and critical analysis of texts. It also recognizes the importance of aligning ELA curricula with Common Core standards while promoting reading engagement through relevant and high-interest texts. By pairing contemporary literature with thematically linked classic works, students can aim to make more meaningful connections and recognize the timeless significance of traditional literature. The core of this project is a sample unit that blends the Young Adult novel “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand with the epic Anglo-Saxon poem “Beowulf”. It includes a scope and sequence, daily lesson plans, assessments, writing prompts, graphic organizers, and a culminating analysis essay. The components of this project allow students to build essential skills in reading comprehension, written expression, collaborative discussion, and literary analysis across both texts. This interdisciplinary unit aims to engage students early and serve as a model for integrating relevant, high-interest literature. Ultimately, the project provides a framework for evolving ELA instruction to resonate with 21st century learners while upholding academic rigor and promoting lifelong literacy.

Included in

Education Commons