2year many kids have pretty much established their identities as readers ornon-readers. To counteract that, one of the books on our students’ summerrequired reading is Suzanne Collins’s
The Hunger Games
. It’s such anamazing novel and reading it reminded me that sometimes teachers need toread these engaging kids’ books too. I kept saying to myself, “I want to get toit.” And now that I have, it’s the book of the summer so far, the book Icouldn’t put down. And I can’t wait to get back with kids in the fall and talknot only about this book but the next book in the series. Collins’s books arekind of like the new generation of
I put off dinner because I wanted to finish a section in
The Hunger Games
. It’s interesting that you picked this book for high school students. Alot of middle school students read this book with great joy, but if you haveupper grades reread it, they’ll bring their knowledge to it – of mythology, forexample-- that a lot of middle school students don’t yet have. The book talksabout the destruction of one society and the rebuilding of another. Theseideas have a lot more impact when you’re older, but I do feel it’s fun formiddle school students to read, too.
Yes, absolutely, it works on many levels.
I think Nancy Allison would support our choice.
The other book I’d like to recommend is
Rapt: Attention and the FocusedLife,
by Winifred Gallagher. It talks about something that a lot of people arepaying attention to (to make a pun on it) -- the extent to which books like
grab hold of your attention and make you not want to makedinner for your family. A couple of other books I’ve been reading lately (likeCarr’s
) talk about that kind of attention. They help meunderstand what it looks like in the lives of our kids. Self-selected reading isabout getting kids reading because they want to pay attention.
That leads me to my next pick,
Adolescents on the Edge,
by JimmySantiago Baca and Releah Lent. My reason stems from an experience I hadseveral years ago. A literacy volunteer working with an illiterate high schoolstudent showed me video footage of this student singing the alphabet song,and when I saw it I started to cry. I knew this was no way to reach this young person and to develop literacy, a love of reading, and a desire to write andcommunicate with others. Reading
Adolescents on the Edge
, brought me thatmoment back. At nineteen, Baca was illiterate and in prison. While in prisonhe made the decision to choose the book and not the knife under hismattress, and that choice gave him freedom and power over his life. He sayskids need a sense of community, of belonging to something. Up until the time that he decided he wanted to read, he’d let himself be led, instead of being responsible for himself and making choices, which takes us back to self-selection. I think it’s a very important book, because when you look at the