Not all kids like to read.
There. I said it and I should know, I teach 8th grade language arts.
I don’t know about any of you, but I remember my 8th grade experience and it wasn’t at all fun or encouraging. I was forced to read, just like many of my current students have been in the past. Back when I was in school, I didn’t know that reading was anything more than something I was made to do and then be tested on. As for my students? Well, they are taught a whole new way because of my disastrous experience in middle school.
This will now be my new bi-weekly platform—talking about books I use with my middle schoolers to teach them reading and writing skills, plus infuse the love of reading into their lives.
We all wish for kids to grow up loving books and reading, but that is just not the case. Constantly demanding they read only classic literature in school and then testing them on the material will absolutely kill the love for reading! For this very reason, I give my students a 25 book reading requirement. LOL! Sound counter productive? It’s really not! The thing my students have is choice. Yes, they have to read different genres. Yes, they have to read 25 books this year. No, I don’t tell them what to read. I guide them.
I wish this would happen around the country in our schools, but alas it doesn’t. Choice. What does it take to encourage reading and choice? Knowledge. I HAVE to know what the latest YA books are. I have to have read a lot of books, so that I can actually sit and talk with my teens about books. I have to be totally and completely invested in their love of reading. This all takes time and money. And lots of it!
I use my classroom funds each year to purchase books. This year it was only enough to purchase 15 hardcover books, which means that I’ll be spending quite a large sum of my own money on books for the rest of the year. I do this so my students have access to books at all times. We do visit the school library bi-weekly, but this isn’t enough. I make sure to surround my students with the latest titles and the minute they are interested in a new one, I make sure to get it. That’s how to encourage reading.
Plus, I read. They see me with a book. I talk about my books. I find book trailers and share them with the students. Anything to get them reading; peak their interest. I work really hard to keep up with the latest trends in YA and always share it.
Does this mean that I never assign a book for everyone in my class to read? Nope. I do. In fact, we are currently reading THE OUTSIDERS. I’ll talk about that next time, but for now here are a few photos of my bookshelves and the piles of books I am working on covering. Kids are already reserving them!!!!
I realized when I went looking through my photos, that I don't have great ones of my shelves. I'll take a few and post them later on today.