Perkins Teams with Chbosky at Reading Conference


Southwestern Oklahoma State University Department of Education instructor Patti Perkins was selected to make a presentation at the recent International Reading Association's 54th annual convention in Phoenix, and her presentation was done with Stephen Chbosky, writer of the TV show Jericho and the movie-rendition of Rent.

This was the first year the week-long conference offered an author/teacher presentation. Teachers from every grade level across the United States were given the opportunity to partner with a published author at a session of the convention.  Teachers were asked to select an author from a list of 11 books and explain how they use that author's books in their classroom. 

The author's publisher then selected one submission, and that lucky teacher and the author presented together. Members heard from the author who lectured about what had inspired their writing, and the teachers told how they had used the books in class.

Perkins, who teaches children's literature at SWOSU, based her presentation on how she used Stephen Chbosky's novel, "The Perks of being a Wallflower" in her college class. She compared "Wallflower" with two other novels, "Speak" and "Define Normal." Her students were surveyed before and after reading the books to see how their initial interpretations had changed. Students also wrote an anticipation journal to describe emotions they felt for each book.

After Perkins' explanation, Chbosky gave a small testimony and discussed what went into writing the book, his first novel. He mentioned the enormous role teachers have played in his life.