Monday, September 23, 2013

The psyche behind book selection!

I have been working hard, as I do every year, to encourage my students to challenge themselves as they choose books to read. "Try something different," and "Haven't you read that already?" are comments I hear myself say frequently as my kiddos browse.
Over the weekend I found myself trapped at the hospital waiting for a family member to respond to treatment.  I was stressed out!  I pulled out my handy ipad and made a quick purchase from Amazon, not one of those many professional books on my list, not one of those front runners for &YA awards, not even a thoughtful (read as challenging) adult novel, but a trashy pulp fiction novel with no redeeming qualities besides the fact that it was pure entertainment and escape.
Now I am reflecting on this choice, and wondering if I do a disservice to my students when I do not encourage truly "free choice".  Shouldn't they be able to make the choice to read what they want for whatever reason they have to read?  Which is my higher calling, raising those reading test scores, or raising individuals who will read for the rest of their lives?
Does anyone else wrestle with this issue?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

What books are "hot trends" at my school this year!

The school year is underway, and I am ready for the wild ride!  It is so great when a student pops their head in to say, "Can I check out a book?"  Yes, folks, a book!  Just to read because they want to, and usually its a print format too!  After a few class book talks, books are flying off the shelf.  Here are a few of the books I have shared:
Sylo -  an island community is shocked by the death of a high school football player, followed by rumors of other deaths.  Suddenly government officials appear on the island to isolate the "epidemic", but nothing is what it seems.  A suspense thriller that provides quite a ride, you don't know what is happening until the last two pages.  This is the first in a series.
Period. 8 - another great book from Chris Crutcher!  During the 8th period study hall type class students under the guidance of a seasoned teacher in his last year before retirement meet to talk about whatever is on their mind.  One of their classmates disappears and suddenly you realize that you don't really know that person you sat next to in class for all of those years.  Plenty of thrill and angst, loved it!
A Thousand Words - a timely story about a picture, a thoughtless moment, and the ramifications of an action.  Realistic characters deal with the consequences of sexting, a good story that shares what happens without preaching.

After such a great beginning, I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year will bring.