Saturday, March 6, 2010

Got Required Reading?

Let's face it. Even the most avid readers don't love every single required reading for English class. There are lots of services out there that try to help make the classics easier, but here's one that's a little different. It's called 60second Recap and its mission is "to make the great works of literature accessible, relevant, and, frankly, irresistible to today's teens."

And it does; it really does!

60second Recap, officially launched on September 14, 2009, is comprised of fabulously explained (and also funny!) 60-second skits by host, Jenny. Jenny sums up each of the classics in a series of 1-minute movies, each covering plot, characters, themes, symbols, or other relevant ideas. She actually does make even my most hated required reading seem interesting (Great Expectations, written in 1860 by Charles Dickens, actually seems interesting to me! Who thought?)

So far, there are 23 classic books covered on the site (under "The Library" section) but Jenny doesn't fail to include a link to request a recap (after logging in), so I'd predict there to be more on the site in the future, for sure.

Besides the old classics, Jenny also does a "Pick of the Week" where she covers fun, non-required reading (in less detail, but how much detail do you really need? These books speak for themselves.) So if you're looking for something new to read, try watching Jenny's "Pick of the Week" for an idea. So far she's suggested all pretty awesome books: Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson), Walk Two Moons (Sharon Creech), Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins), etc.

Other features: "Recap Resource" where Jenny explains terms like allegory, metaphor, and satire, and also has tips on how to write a paper. And "Club Recap" where viewers can create and post their own video responses.

It's absolutely a site worth checking out for help with required and nonrequired reading. It's even funny!

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