Friday, November 23, 2007

Teacher Knows Books

I took my students to the library Tuesday to check out books for sustained silent reading in the classroom. Students dread SSR time, because they are usually required to keep page counts, write journals, choose certain types of books and genres and complete massive projects over their books. Nothing like making them hate something we're trying to get them to want to do in their spare time. So I told them we weren't going to worry about all that - that they should just get a book they thought they might like.

One of my students was wandering aimlessly, with that glaze over his eyes that signifies a reluctant reader suddenly trapped in his worst nightmare - an entire room full of books. I was checking out a book myself, so while I waited in line at the checkout counter, I asked him what kind of books he remembered liking at all. He said he liked Goosebumps, so I began rattling off a list of slightly more challenging horror and suspense novelists, telling him what they wrote and which ones I liked and why.

I noticed the crowd at the checkout counter had gotten very quiet. About seven kids who weren't mine were listening intently to our conversation. I looked up and said, "Why is everyone staring at me?"

One girl near the front said, "Because you can tell us what books we want to read."

It's good to know books, I suppose.

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