International Journal of Research in English Education

Expanding Middle School Students’ Literacy Skills Using the Journey Motif in Three Middle Grade Novels and Short Stories

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This paper analyzed three middle grade novels and a short story from two cultures using the journey motif as the vehicle for the analysis. The three novels are Bud Not Buddy and The Watsons Go to Birmingham both by Paul Curtis (1995, 1999) and Journey to Jo’burg by Naidoo (1985). The short story is My Two Dads by Lee (2000). The three novels and a short story were chosen because these novels are on the reading list for students in many school districts in the USA at the middle grade level. The analysis showed that for the three novels and a short story in the study, each text adhered to some elements/ parts of the journey motif. The paper then suggested 10 literacy strategies that can be used by English Language Arts teachers to engage learners, make the instructional process more interesting and hopefully improve achievement for all learners.