I am a reader…I just love to devour books. One right after the other. Sequels and series… Books that are made into movies…books recommended by friends.
I love to chat about books- how other people felt about the characters, the setting, the twist they just didn’t see coming. I love to tell my students about the great book that I just can’t put down…
I love to fall in love with the characters- embrace their fights and frustrations, their hopes and successes.
I just can’t get enough!
Which is probably a great problem to have as a literacy teacher.
I enjoy sharing my passion with students- helping them pick books that I know they’ll adore. Seeing their eyes light up with excitement, hear their voices begging for “just five minutes more!” Finding a series that they stick to… huddling in a corner with me to discuss their heartbreak when its “all over.”
Most of my classes buy in to my strange obsession by way of read alouds. With the exception of one of my classes…my 7th graders. They are “too cool” for reading.
We have tried book after book this year…Projekt 1065, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, Harry Potter (I have never been more disappointed that I couldn’t get this class to love Harry the way I do)! But, they just wouldn’t buy in. These books that have spoken so loudly to me, did not interest them in the slightest.
Until we came across this book…the one that changed it ALL for us. Code of Honor written by Alan Gratz. The beginning was rocky- they weren’t buying into the main character, Kamran, who’s older brother Darius is accused of being a Terrorist. A Persian family living in Arizona, Kamran was quickly thrown into turmoil as he fought to protect his name: at school, with the Department of Homeland Security, and later to a team of individuals who help him track down his brother.
My. Kids. Are. Hooked. HOOKED! Today, they literally begged and pleaded to keep reading. For us to devote our whole block to finishing the book. They were drying to know…
- Was Darius really a terrorist?
- Who, among their group, was a traitor? (You’ll have to read to find out…)
- Does Kamran ever get of the DHS?
- He Escaped? Will he be charged with a crime even though he shouldn’t have been kept there to begin with?
- Is his brother in Iraq? Arizona?
- Does Kamran REALLY believe his brother is still innocent?
- Will they really let Kamran go with on their mission?
Of course I didn’t let them finish…I have to draw it out. Keep them hanging on, coming back each day…asking more questions, delving deeper into the characters, analyzing the events and synthesizing their thinking… I even heard them talking about the book later on in the day…in the hallway while walking with a friend…without even being told to!!!!!!
For the first time this year, my 7th graders are in love with reading. Just like me…
And boy, oh boy, does this make for one VERY happy literacy teacher!