I’ve harped on about the importance of allusions for ages. Work by Doug Wise surpasses my own in this field – I recommend you have a read of these here.
Next year, in my department, it is my intention that all students will receive a homework booklet that details 50 stories, idioms, or historical, cultural or religious events that are commonly referred to-or alluded to– in the mainstream media, other literary texts, or every day adult conversation.
My reasoning is two-fold. Firstly, an understanding of these allusions imbues students with a greater sense of cultural capital. However, the primary rationale behind my creation of this booklet is the improvement of children’s literacy. Without an understanding of the basic allusions whose understanding adults take for granted, meaning totally escapes students who have no understanding of where this reference has come from.
For example, if an adult tells a child, ‘You should try being a good Samaritan’, and the child has no idea about the Good Samaritan story, then they won’t be able to take that adult’s advice.
I’m thrilled that many Twitter users have volunteered their time and effort to contribute entries to this book. Here’s a step by step guide on how to contribute:
1. Let me know on Twitter, that you want to contribute, preferably using the hashtag #50allusions, and I’ll tell you what I’d like (I have a list), or I might ask you to suggest some.
2. Go away, and using one of the dropbox files (link below) that have been used already, create a one-page entry.
3. When it’s finished, send me a DM to let me know that you’ve finished, and I’ll send you my personal email address so you can send it my way. I’ll then make it available on Dropbox for all.
I will edit all entries. I will also write the question sections for the final booklet, as I have a very specific idea of how I want the final booklet to look. Of course, you are free to adapt as you see fit for your own context.
Please bear in mind that information sheets should help students to understand different aspects of this allusion. It’s also important that we explain to students, or give examples of, how these allusions are used in every day life. I’m also trying to encourage wider reading of non-fiction texts so any opportunities to provide source materials would be great.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: In contributing to this project you accept that what you send to me can be adapted for my final booklet-which I will make available online- by me. You will have no ownership rights over what you send and will not receive any payment for doing so. You accept that your contribution will be part of a community project, free from any financial interests, intended to improve the education of students and ease teacher workload.
Link to Dropbox file: