Several years ago, while I was engaged with my final go-around with the Book of the Month Club, I took a chance on a title that sounded interesting: The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture. The book’s title is about as exact a description of its contents as I’ve ever seen. First, it contains daily devotionals, just like the religious books that serve as part of its namesake, for each of the 365 days of the year; second, each entry–which I should mention are stylishly written and cogently edited–addressed a topic in modern culture.
Reading its daily entries, it didn’t take me long to understand that these readings, particularly those on athletes and pop music stars, would serve well as reading work for the struggling and alienated learners in my classroom. I broke the spine of the book and began separating pages to scan into my computer and save for future use. At the same time, I started writing reading comprehension worksheets to accompany these readings.
Moreover, I soon discovered that the authors of my book, David S. Kidder and Noah Oppenheim had in fact published a series of five Intellectual Devotional books. It didn’t take me long to buy the rest of the series and begin developing curricular materials from them keyed to various topics in the high school course of study. At this point, I have several hundred readings and worksheets that I’ve developed from these excellent books.
I recently wrote the authors of these books to seek permission to post some of their readings on Mark’s Text Terminal–particularly those I have rendered in typescript, so that teachers who work with struggling readers might edit them for those students. I have yet to hear back from them, but hope springs eternal, I guess. The good news is that all five books remain in print in durable hardcover editions. You can order them from your preferred bookseller (which I hope is local and independent, if I may presume to say so).
From time to time, outside The Weekly Text, I’ll publish here my worksheets to accompany the readings in The Intellectual Devotional books. To that end, here’s a reading comprehension worksheet on Michelangelo from the book I call, for file-coding purposes, The Intellectual Devotional Basic, so called because it has no subtitle, and is simply called The Intellectual Devotional (the subtitles for the other four books are the aforementioned Modern Culture, as well as Health, Biographies, and American History).
As always, I hope you find this useful. If you do, I’d like to hear how these kinds of readings and worksheet work in your classroom, particularly if you adapt them for struggling or alienated learners.
Post Scriptum: Here is the reading that accompanies this worksheet on Michelangelo, which I posted at a user’s request in October of 2017.
Addendum: I’ve posted these in the About Posts & Texts page, but I want to put them here as well. As I mentioned, there are five volumes of The Intellectual Devotional series and I’ve prepared reading and worksheet templates in Microsoft Word (so you can alter them to your needs) for all five books. So, here are the templates: The first set is from the general book (which I have called, for my purposes of file management, “Basic”), simply titled The Intellectual Devotional. Here are templates for preparing materials from the American History volume. Next up is the set of four templates work with the Biographies volume. Here are the four templates for the Health volume. For the Modern Culture volume (the first of these I bought, incidentally, and a book full of high-interest material that I recognized had great potential for designing short reading and comprehension exercises for struggling learners, especially those with short attention spans), here are yet another four templates for readings and worksheets. Finally, here is the bibliography of all five titles for copying and pasting citations, or whatever else you might need it to do.