Penny Kittle

The last two chapters of Book Love were a great way to end the semester.  Her insights are so amazingly simple and helpful.  Chapter 8’s idea of having students connect their personal books they read with more “important” texts is a great idea.  The classics are the classics for a reason, but that doesn’t mean they are always engaging, and they can definitely be intimidating.  When students can connect the ideas in those books with themes found in YA literature, they’re going to be less afraid and more ready to tackle those landmark books.

The last chapter discusses how schools should implement a window of time where the ENTIRE building is reading.  I think this is an especially good idea because of some of the stigma that can come from reading.  Many kids won’t read because they think it’s lame or will make them less cool, but if absolutely everyone is reading, there won’t be any fear of being ridiculed for it.  It’s a good kind of peer pressure.  I think it’s a super interesting concept.  It would get the whole school talking about books with each other!

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Summer Reading Plans

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We are finally closing in on summer.  Each year I get more and more excited which equates to me losing motivation earlier and earlier; I don’t have much left in the tank.  Anyways, my summer reading will not include much YA literature.  I do think I’ll try and reread the entire Maximum Ride series, but other than that, I have a lot on my TBR list that I couldn’t get to this school year.  A lot of them are longer books, so I’m definitely not going to attempt a book a day.  I might strive to read a certain number of pages a day, but I really don’t know if that would help much.  I’ll definitely try it out, but I don’t know if that would make reading feel more like a chore or not, and that is definitely NOT what I want to happen.

My schedule in the summer is fairly constant and simple.  I work from 7-3 or 6-2, depending on the day.  I work for the Parks department, so it’s all manual labor, which means no take home work.  That means all the time after 2 or 3 is mine to spend how I please.  I’ll probably try and read in the few hours after work when it’s still really hot out.  Around 7 or 8 is when my friends are ready to hang out, so I’ll most likely not be reading at night much.  I really like to sit on the porch and read and watch the sunset as well.  It’s kind of corny, but if the mosquitoes aren’t too bad, it’s a nice part of my evening.  Reading has been a habit for a long time, so I don’t envision having any problem continuing that.  Here’s to a great summer!

Here are the books I will be focusing on this summer.

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Monday Update: A Wrinkle in Time

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I finished reading “A Wrinkle in Time” this past week, and my opinion didn’t really change.  I just could not get involved and invested in the story.  Everything felt pretty superficial and shallow.  I really do think that it was just an issue of too much plot and that the consequences of the events involved the entire universe.  This book just really seemed like it needed more room to breathe and expand on its ideas.  I understand that a lot of this is probably due to my age, but I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it 10 years ago either.  Maybe I’ll try to recommend it when I’m a teacher and see how my students react to it.  It’s a pretty renowned book, so I’m going to do my best to not write it off as bad.  Still, it’s a 2/4 for me.

Monday Update: A Wrinkle in Time

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I completely spaced my blog post for my Monday update last week, so here it is anyways.  Our book club has been reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  Sorry to say, I haven’t really enjoyed it.  The plot is such large-scale  and encompasses so many events, but there’s barely any description.  It just jumps from scene to scene and I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of significant meaning.  The book club agreed that this book was probably written for the younger side of YA literature and that that may have affected our reading.  I feel like I definitely would have enjoyed it more ten years ago.  Even with that in mind, I am still not impressed so far.

Getting Students to Read More

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These articles really got me thinking.  The kind of reading environment they advocate and describe is exactly what I want to foster in my future classroom.  However, it honestly seems a little intimidating when I think of my student teaching.  I desperately want to use some of these tactics in the classroom, and I definitely can eventually, but a big part of these is having a lot of time to develop a system and relationship with the students.  And I’ll have plenty of time when I’m a full-time teacher, but for some reason, reading the articles made me feel like I’m going to have to be a different kind of student teacher than the teacher I want to be.

I really never had an English teacher who encouraged this kind of thing.  I read a ton outside of class on my own, but there wasn’t ever an emphasis on personal reading in junior high or high school.  So while I didn’t miss out on reading, I’m beginning to realize that this may be the reason that so many of my friends aren’t readers.  It makes me feel like I’ll have even more of a responsibility as a teacher to get my students to embrace reading.

Monday Update: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

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I decided to reread this book last week.  I read it a few years ago and was really moved by it.  I’m glad to report that it did indeed hold its sway.  The story follows our narrator Craig, who is suffering from depression.  Everything in his life is going just wrong enough that he feels like he can’t control it.  He doesn’t connect with his best friend anymore.  His crush is dating his best friend, and he just can’t seem to fit in overall.  Craig’s depression begins to have other effects: He develops an eating disorder and begins to have suicidal thoughts.

Craig then goes on Zoloft and feels much better, so much better, in fact, that he throws his medicine away.  After this, his depression takes a turn for the worst, and he almost kills himself.  However, he calls the suicide hotline and is admitted into a local psychiatric ward.  There, he meets a bunch of colorful characters who begin to help him feel his feelings and work through his depression.  This book is really interesting to read because it feels very real.  The author, Ned Vizzini, went through depression himself, so everything feels genuine.  One sad fact that I learned after my first reading was that Vizzini ended up killing himself a few years ago.  I think it’s an important book for anyone dealing with depression or who knows someone with depression to read.

YALSA Lists

I don’t really have a lot to say about this week’s research.  Nothing really stood out to me even though I looked at most of the lists.  I saw a few authors I knew in some of the awards lists: Orson Scott Card, Ursula Leguin, Sir Terry Pratchett, S.E. Hinton, so that was cool.  However, other than that, I felt kind of lost.  There were just so many books to read about and choose from.  I have so many on my TBR list that it seems silly at times to keep adding to it.  Since I like a lot of books outside YA, a lot of my TBR doesn’t even include YA literature.  I’m never going to be able to read enough!

I know this is a lame post, but I really have nothing much to add.  Oh well.