Tag Archives: young adult literature
This week I’ve dedicated my posts to series – why I’m burned out on them and why my students can’t get enough.
I might need to revise my post from Tuesday, April 24. I’m not burned out on series. I repeat – the series lives!
As a middle school teacher, I reserve the right to change my mind. I’ve changed my mind. Looking for the May Schmidt’s Pick, I grabbed Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl off a pile of books in my office. I had just finished Fear by Michael Grant and wasn’t too keen on starting another series – especially a series that a) hasn’t been finished yet and b) consists of 500+ page books. But I knew this isn’t really about me, it’s about my students and providing them with access to books they’ll actually read so they may actually beat the odds and read more than 1 book after high school. Literacy is important to me. That’s no shock to anyone who knows me, so if I have to “take one for the team” to keep the kids reading, I’ll do it.
Earlier this week I wrote about my love/hate relationship with series. I found myself, once again, stuck in the doldrums of YA series. There was nothing fresh about my reading because all I did was read one book after another that continued a series I had already started. I’m happy to report that I have sailed out of the doldrums, but more about that in a later post.
For now, I want to talk about my students. On Wednesday after we finished round three of state tests, I had the opportunity to just sit and have a conversation with my students. I haven’t had this opportunity in quite some time since I’ve been hosting a student teacher. On Wednesday afternoon, I found myself alone with my seventh graders for the first time in 3 months. Furthermore, they were a bit spent from testing all morning. So when they came into the classroom, I had them sit down, pull out their independent books, and start reading. They read for only a few minutes. I just wanted them to center themselves more than anything. At the end of their reading session, I had them discuss their books with their friends. Pretty standard stuff.
This week my school is mired in state tests. It’s a tough week for teachers and students. So for obvious reasons I needed to share the following exchange:
I was signing out my test materials this morning when a colleague/friend/parent said to me, “You’re the reason my eighth grader goes to bed with a book every night.”
And as I carted my test supplies back to my room, I realizes that it just doesn’t matter what the tests show since the tests don’t measure a love of reading or a desire to be a lifelong reader. If my students have (re)discovered a love of reading than not only am I an effective teacher, but they are advanced-proficient in my book.
As much as I love young adult fiction, a steady diet of one thing is bad, and so I’ve found myself reading a lot of adult fiction during the late winter and spring. At first I told myself that it was because I had “homework” for Booktopia 2012, which I recently attended in Manchester, VT. Me being me, I did feel compelled to read the latest books by all of the authors in attendance, and I did start some of the back catalogue as well. However, as I look at my nightstand, desk, coffee table, and pretty much any flat surface that holds books in my house, I realize that I’m still grabbing adult fiction. This is not Booktopia’s fault. I recently read Marisa de los Santos’ newest book and A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve – neither author attended Booktopia. So why am I grabbing adult and leaving YA to sit collecting dust?
As many of you know, I have pages on my blog, which get updated regularly – even if my blog doesn’t. One of the pages is a listing of my reviews of YA books. These reviews in their simplest form are simply one reader’s thoughts about a book. I recently finished and reviewed Cover-up by John Feinstein. I didn’t like the book. There were many reasons why I didn’t like it. This is my opinion and my opinion only. I gave the book one star. After I finished reviewing the book on Goodreads, the review posted to my Twitter account and the blog. And I went about my day.
I didn’t think twice about the review as I had seemingly more important things on my mind (like getting much needed highlights in my hair and what book I was going to read next). Later that day, I popped open my laptop cover to check in with my various social networking sites and maybe play some Angry Birds. Imagine my surprise when I had a response to my review. Who knew that people actually paid attention? However, that wasn’t as shocking as what followed.