3 Reasons Bob Dylan Should Be Taught In Schools

It’s been interesting to see how the literary community has responded to Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize win. Many authors complained that it should have gone to a more traditional writer. However, acknowledging the power and merit of words in any format is a huge win for language lovers. The argument that writers can only be of value if they stick to prose or poetry on the page seems counterintuitive.

While teaching middle and high school English, I found that using well-written, complex lyrics was an effective way to teach reading skills and literary analysis. Here are three reasons why Bob Dylan’s lyrics make the grade.

1. Bob Dylan’s songs are concentrated literary pieces full of figurative language and poetic devices — skills students are required to master. “Chimes of Freedom” alone contains personification, metaphor, alliteration, imagery, assonance, repetition, rhyme and rhythm. That’s a week’s worth of lessons in one song.

2. The messages in Dylan’s songs are a great thematic companion to novels and poetry. It is common practice in the classroom and on standards-based tests to pair a reading passage with a poem to test higher-level thinking skills.

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If you can read this, thank a teacher!

May 7 – 11 is Teacher Appreciation Week, and what better time to reflect on all that teachers mean to us than right before school lets out for the summer?

Beyond teaching the ABCs and 123s, educators inspire us to think creatively, solve problems, and ask questions about our surroundings so we can learn how to improve our lives.

Need a way to show your favorite teachers how much you appreciate them? Why not find them a novel from their favorite fiction genre, or how about a new blank journal to record their thoughts? Tip: You can inscribe the cover page with a short note, inspirational quote or poem thanking your teachers for all that they taught you and let them know how they’ve made a difference in your life.

Or, if you’re not quite sure what your teacher would enjoy, gift cards are always appreciated. Now through Sunday, May 13, when you purchase a $25 HPB Gift Card, you’ll receive a $5 HPB Card for yourself to use in-store during the month of June!

As our own special “thank you” to educators, teachers and librarians can save 10% year-round on all their purchases at HPB when they sign up for the HPB Educator Discount Program.

Did you have a particularly exceptional teacher that inspired you? Tell us about it in the comments!

— Kate & BW