The "Book Club" Label: Probation and Reading

Today, a member of Changing Lives Through Literature, the program discussed in our previous post, posted a response on their blog, Changing Lives, Changing Minds, to Leah Price's article in the New York Times. The response offers a different perspective on the same session that Price attended, aiming to express the complexity of the program.
From the post:
Participants quickly relate the similarities between story elements and their own troubled pasts, with some venturing away from the text to recount personal anecdotes. When this happens, Waxler encourages them to apply their experiences to the characters in question. Changing Lives Through Literature, after all, is not a counseling session or a trip to rehab. Its purpose is not to motivate offenders to confess their own troubled pasts aloud to a group. Instead, the program aims to create a psychologically safe place where participants can discuss their experiences through the characters and thereby realize things about themselves.
Baker's follow-up comment is particularly interesting as well:
One issue I have with both Price’s article and my own account is that the probationers are silent–they have no voice of their own in the pieces. They do not talk: they are talked about.
Read "A View on the Times" >> >>

Image: Changing Lives, Changing Minds
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  1. Anonymous1:54 PM

    Yes - it would be very interesting to hear what the youths on probation think about the program. Is it useful? How does it affect them? What value do they see in such a program?

    That point of view may be most telling in the effectiveness or value of the program.

  2. Anonymous6:14 PM

    Probationers think the program is useful and life changing. I interviewed a couple of probationers when I was in Boston for this year's CLTL annual conference. They were both very supportive of the program. One girl said she saw a former classmate on the train . . . and that former classmate was READING! So the program has long-lasting effects: such as turning non-readers into readers. That's something.


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