welcomes Professor Alessandro Portelli
Master Class for Teachers and Book Group leaders
On Friday, September 25th Professor Portelli conducted a Master Class for Teachers and Book Group leaders in an informal exchange of ideas about how to approach the novel with Italian and international adolescents. The perspective that this novel tells the story of how these little girls attempt to make sense of the world that surrounds them might serve to help students reflect on their own reality. During this analysis of themes and aspects of the novel, teachers shared questions and ideas about teaching the novel that will certainly be reflected in their work on the novel with their students.
This year, Italy Reads has introduced an event called the Italy Reads Forum that will be scheduled based on proposals received by participating teachers and their students (deadline October 5th; formerly September 30th). In the tradition of facilitating discussion the various themes and context of the novel and how they relate to today's society, this promises to be an engaging event.
Italy Reads activities include student exchange visits, theatrical performances by The English Theatre of Rome and the Student Video Contest for high school students. We look forward to receiving many submissions from high school students and the Award Ceremony on February 17th. We encourage high school students to participate in Italy Writes (deadline April 1st).
Professor Portelli's book, translated into English as The Order Has Been Carried Out: history, memory and meaning of a Nazi massacre in Rome is a bestseller. He has also published two volumes of seminal oral-history essays covering topics as varied as the Italian Resistance, student movements since the 1960s and the Kentucky mining communities. In 2015 he taught a course on Bruce Springsteen at Princeton University and his book on Springsteen Badlands. Bruce Springsteen e l'America: il lavoro, i sogni has recently been published by Donzelli Editori Roma.
On Wednesday, September 23rd Italy Reads, John Cabot University's community-based English language reading and cultural exchange program, had the honor of welcoming Keynote Address Speaker Alessandro Portelli, Professor of American Literature at the University of Roma-'La Sapienza' for this kick-off event of Italy Reads 2015. One of the world's leading oral historians, Professor Portelli shed a particularly insightful light on the themes addressed in the novel selected this year, Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye.
The standing-room only audience of high school teachers of English, their students, JCU student Italy Reads Volunteers and members of the JCU community was enthralled by his discourse. Fresh from the subject of his most recent book Badlands. Bruce Springsteen e l'America: il lavoro, i sogni (Donzelli Editori Roma), Portelli began with an analysis of the metaphor of seeds that do not grow in Bruce Springsteen's song This Hard Land and the infertile seeds that year in 1941 in The Bluest Eye. Discussing the various themes of the novel, he illustrated how we are all subject to internal and external considerations of beauty, wealth and belonging.
Since many of the high school teachers participating in Italy Reads studied with Professor Portelli during their university careers, there was a feeling of reunion among the audience at this gathering. Teachers had the opportunity to introduce their current students to one of their former professors and share their love for American literature.
Italy Reads 2015-2016 'The Bluest Eye' welcomes local teachers to the annual Teacher Training Workshop
On Friday, September 11th John Cabot University's President Franco Pavoncello welcomed 81 of the 191 high school teachers of English participating in Italy Reads to the annual Teacher Training Workshop. These teachers come from high schools located in Rome, Anzio, Ciampino, Genzano di Roma, Genova, Labaro, Naples, Milan, Pomezia and Rignano Flaminio. President Pavoncello congratulated teachers on their enthusiastic dedication to the education of their students. This commitment is not limited to perfecting the linguistic skills of students; it aims at improving the capacity of young people to understand and improve the world they live in.
Conducted by Professor Carlos Dews, Chair of JCU's Department of English and Director of the Italy Reads program, this workshop provides participating teachers and Book Group Leaders with resources to teach this year's novel, Nobel Prize Winner Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye in the most effective way.
In addition to the 7 Italy Reads 2015 Scholarships awarded to high school teachers of English to attend a for-credit course at JCU on Toni Morrison and her works (a total of 34 such scholarships have been awarded to date), this Workshop continues the academic support Italy Reads offers teachers.
During the workshop, Professor Dews lead discussion of the major themes of the novel and contextualized this work in the life and works of Ms. Morrison. Material covered at the Workshop is available at Resources for Teachers .
Teachers enjoyed lunch together on JCU's panoramic Secchia Rooftop Terrace joined by members of the cast and director, JCU professor of Theatre Gaby Ford, of The English Theatre of Rome's Italy Reads Theatre production of The Bluest Eye, an adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel by Lydia Diamond.
Following lunch, JCU professor and Director of The Institute for Entrepreneurship, Professor Silvia Pulino, presented the latest offshoot of Italy Reads called Italy Pitches. A program of persuasive speech in English for Italian high school students, Italy Pitches will culminate with a contest in March.
The overall objective is to empower young people and show them how they can find their voice so that their opinions are not merely static reflections on the world around them but a sharpened tool to modify their environment. The deadline for teachers to register to participate in Italy Pitches is October 5th (formerly September 30th). Please write to Gina Marie Spinelli at [email protected] to register.
With the support of the
Embassy of the
United States of America in Italy
With the support of the
English Theatre of Rome
Italy Reads is John Cabot University's community-based reading and cultural exchange program that began in 2009 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for The Big Read Rome.
The Big Read Rome was a great success; students from nearly 20 Italian public and international high schools in Rome read Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, viewed the film at JCU's "Cinema Mockingbird," attended theater productions by The English Theatre of Rome, and actively participated in book discussions with JCU students.
The success of The Big Read Rome led John Cabot University to expand this American cultural exchange program to a wider Italian high school community and create our own program which we called Italy Reads. We now count 40 Italian public and international high schools and over 100 teachers of English and their students among Italy Reads participants.
We are pleased to announce that the book for Italy Reads 2015 is Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. The official edition of the book is the Vintage Edition (ISBN 9780099759911).
Please see our Calendar of Events for a complete list of Italy Reads activities.
To register as an official Italy Reads 2015 participant, or to receive more information about Italy Reads, please e-mail us at [email protected] or speak with Ms. Gina Marie Spinelli at +39-06-68191223.
Participating teachers, students, libraries and book groups can attend a Keynote Address by an expert on Morrison and her work, watch the film adaptation of The Bluest Eye, attend a production of the stage adaptation of the novel by The English Theatre of Rome, participate in Student Exchanges, and compete in a Student Video Contest . Participating teachers can also attend a day-long Italy Reads training workshop.
ITALY READS ACTIVITIES
• Keynote Address -- Participating teachers and their students will be invited to the Italy Reads Keynote Address delivered by an expert on Morrison and her work. See the Calendar of Events for details.
• Master Class for High School Teachers and Book Group Leaders -- by an expert on Morrison and her work. See the Calendar of Events for details.
• Italy Reads Lectures -- Participating teachers and their students will be invited to John Cabot University to propose a Round-Table Discussion relevant to themes of the novel. See the Calendar of Events for details.
• Film Screenings -- Participating teachers and their students will have the opportunity to schedule a free screening of the film adaptation of The Bluest eye, followed by a discussion session with Italy Reads Volunteers at John Cabot University.
• Play Performances -- Participating teachers and their students will receive discounted tickets to The English Theatre of Rome's production of the stage adaptation of The Bluest Eye. See the Calendar of Events for details.
• Student Video Contest -- Students participating in Italy Reads can enter a video contest to compete for significant cash prizes. See Student Video Contest for details.
• Student Exchanges -- John Cabot University students will be available to visit schools to lead discussions of the novel in a student exchange program. Students of participating Italy Reads teachers will also be invited to participate in discussions of the novel at the John Cabot University campus. Contact Italy Reads at [email protected] or call Ms. Gina Marie Spinelli at +39-06-681-91223 for details.
• Teacher Training -- Participating teachers can take part in a day-long workshop about the novel and the use of the teaching materials gathered by Italy Reads. Contact Italy Reads at [email protected] or call Ms. Gina Marie Spinelli at +39-06-681-91223 for details. The Teacher Training Workshop will be offered on Friday, 11 September 2015 .
• Teaching Materials -- Through the Italy Reads website and the JCU Frohring Library, teachers participating in Italy Reads have access to a wealth of supplemental electronic materials related to the novel. See Resources for details. Contact Italy Reads at [email protected] or call Ms. Gina Marie Spinelli at 06-681-91223 for details.
• Books for Libraries -- Participating libraries can receive a limited number of free copies of The Bluest Eye. Contact Italy Reads at [email protected] or call Ms. Gina Marie Spinelli at 06-681-91223 for details.