Well this is my last weekend of summer vacation. As of Tuesday September 8th I will be back in front of 100+ middle schoolers. As an English teacher I’m always curious about people’s experience with reading in school. I thought it might be fun to share some experiences – from any level, K-College. So if you want, add your story.
Things to think about:
- A book you were assigned to read and loved
- What book did you hate
- What do you remember about learning to read
- A book you read in school, later reread on your own and your opinion of it changed
- Any books a teacher read aloud to you
I’ll start. As far as learning to read, I don’t remember much about it. I have a vague memory of sitting in a semi-circle and being asked words, but really it seems like I’ve always known how to read.
My first memory of a a teacher reading aloud to me was The Cricket in Times Square. I just thought it was amazing that this cricket could do all those thing. I’ve never read it again, because I’m afraid it would ruin the memory.
In high school I read two books that I really didn’t like or understand very well (ok, I hated them). I read The Jungle
by Upton Sinclair and Red Badge of Courage
by Stephen Crane. Both went well beyond my ability to understand. I remember being confused from page one with the Red Badge of Courage
. Who was tall soldier? Who was short soldier? And The Jungle
was just icky. I have not read either of these again. Not sure I want to revisit that experience.
The reading that taught me I loved words and what they are capable of is Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”. I studied it in college when I thought I wanted to be a reporter. I was amazed by what a few – well a lot of – words could say, the images they could create. That poem changed my mind and set me on the path to teaching. On the lighter side, it also helped me name my dog. I have a fluffy white dog named Whitman.
As a teacher my favorite part is reading aloud to students. There are two books that have stood out. The first is The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy
. Its about a boy who lives in a place where everyone has superpowers except him. They loved it. I had students who struggle with reading fight over the second book in the series! The other book is Touching Spirit Bear
by Ben Mikaelsen. It’s a story about a boy learning to take responsibility and forgive. I taught a class of mostly boys who really struggled with reading – they could relate to the main character. They completely understood why he acted how he did. And more importantly, they saw how and why he needed to change. It gave them a good experience with reading – something they don’t get very often. I was lucky to meet Ben Mikaelsen last year and express my gratitude.
Ok I’ve babbled long enough. Would you care to share?