Holmes is one of the most identifiable literary figures in the world.
The stories of Arthur Conan Doyle have been reprinted countless times,
are available on the Internet and on tape. Numerous stories expanding
Doyles characters adventures after his death continue
to be published. Films have been made and trade journals exploring
the character published.
Doyle first wrote the Holmes stories, He considered them less important
than his more serious written work on spiritualism, but when he decided
to do away with the character in "The Final Problem," fans
demanded he resurrect the character and write more adventures.
Holmes remains the standard for the modern day detective story. His
adventures have led fans to develop societies for further study of
the "canon" and prompted numerous publications that contain
scholarly articles. Holmes has been integrated into popular culture
through his mannerisms and his well-known sayings (some accurate and
some not) are repeated in daily conversations.
fan of the canon, I was surprised to learn that there is very little
published about how to integrate Doyles work into middle and
high school literature classrooms as a unit of study. There are many
articles written in education journals about other literary characters
and authors, but Doyle is noticeably missing, even though his character
has been imitated by other authors.
the decision to expose my seventh grade honor students to Arthur Conan
Doyles work throughout the 2004-2005 school yearwhen my school
adopted the Americas Choice school model which requires schools
to choose an author to study. I concluded that the recommended author,
Gary Soto, was not an appropriate choice for honors students who were
reading well above grade level. Sotos work would not have challenged
these students nor presented an opportunity for academic growth.
work, by contrast, offered the opportunity for an in depth study of
a literary character that would challenge and enhance their development
as readers and writers and provide the opportunity for exposure to
numerous works by one author.
unit demonstrates how middle and high school teachers can use Doyles
"The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" as an effective unit
of study in the English literature classroom. It provides lesson plans,
examples of students work, and a comprehensive collection of
Internet and library resources that I used during the 2004-2005 school
year in my seventh grade honors language arts class.