Monday, August 18, 2008

The Bradbury Letter

Eighth graders in the Advanced and Gifted Language Arts classes at LaVilla will study the short stories and novels of the celebrated American writer, Ray Bradbury (1920- ). His writing style, advanced vocabulary, and original ideas challenge our students and inspire engaging classroom discussions.
In the next few weeks, your student will have the choice of one of Bradbury’s novels to read as part of our author study. Students will read the books in preparation for regularly scheduled small group discussions with students who have chosen the same book. The eighth grade teachers will lead whole class discussions of his work and we will facilitate discussion of particular issues in the small groups. The three books from which students may choose are listed below.

· Dandelion Wine, published in 1947. Short interconnected stories that reflect Bradbury’s all-American childhood growing up in Illinois. (ISBN #0553277537)
· Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. A novel, now considered to be a classic, which presents a futuristic world in which firemen burn books instead of putting out fires. (ISBN# 0345342968)
· The Martian Chronicles, published in 1950. A series of stories exploring the possibilities and problems with a future colonization of Mars. (ISBN# 0553278223)

We are requesting your permission for your student to read one (or all) of these books. Although written in the 1950’s, the issues Bradbury explores include censorship, racism, the dangers of technology, and end of life as we know it. He uses some mature language to realistically explore these themes and acknowledge the presence of these issues in our society. These books are all in circulation in middle school media centers and at the public library. Any member of the 8th grade Language Arts team would be happy to discuss the books with you. We can also discuss which book would be most appropriate for your child. In fact, some of the titles are suitable for classroom use even without parental permission.
Finally, it would be helpful if each student purchases his/her own copy of the book, once assigned. Because we don’t have enough books for every child to check one out and read at home, we usually share and rotate books between classes so that each student has access to the texts during the school day. Having his/her own copy of the books makes it easier to keep up with the assigned reading and allows students to make notes directly on the pages of his/her book.
This author study has been challenging and popular with our students in the past. We are excited to begin this year. Thank you for the opportunity to read and learn with your students.

Please check one of the boxes below and return this portion by Thursday, August 28th (A day classes) or Friday, August 29th (B day classes). A copy of this letter is available at
____ My child may read the books for the Ray Bradbury author study.

____ I’d like to discuss the options available for my child. Please contact me by phone number or e-mail: __________________________________________.

Please Print:
Student Name: _______________________

Parent/Guardian Name: ______________________________

Parent/Guardian Signature: ______________________________________