Some learners will inevitably move more quickly through the core reading material than others. Offering a selection of supplemental texts will allow these students to independently apply the concepts and lenses introduced in this unit to other characters. A possible additional text option for these accelerated students is Toni Morrison’s Sula, which compares side-by-side the experiences of two Black women whose lives diverge drastically. The separate fates of Nel and Sula are largely attributable to their acceptance or rejection of gender norms, and students may apply the same lenses to these characters as they have done with characters in the core novels.
Conversely, a text like The Color Purple may be too difficult for those who struggle with reading. For these learners, audio tracks may be helpful to clarify the dialect used in Celie’s letters, which can be jarring for some students to simply read off the page. Increasing access to the text for these students can facilitate their understanding of the more complicated themes in the novel.
Students requiring further differentiation may be offered a replacement core text. Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games is a familiar story to many students, but examining it through the lens of gender studies may offer a fresh perspective. Additionally, students’ increased comfort level with this text can allow them a more direct route to the more complex and abstract concepts at the core of this unit. The Hunger Games has been examined through a gender studies lens many times, but it is unlikely that students have considered this perspective, even if they have read the book previously. Katniss Everdeen’s rejection of typical behavior associated with women is central to the book, but students may also examine the way that Katniss is seemingly pushed into a choice between two male partners, each of whom expects her to fulfill a specific (and very gendered) role.