“So Many Books, So Little Time” is the saying emblazoned on my favorite sweatshirt. I feel this way about all the books I’d like to read. Being a voracious reader and belonging to a book group hardly slakes my thirst for books. Either reading a novel to or with my class was always the highlight of my teaching day.
Often I would choose a novel to read aloud to seventh graders. You’d be amazed at how attentive they were as they listened for about 10 minutes at the end of the hour. I’d usually choose something that had some action in it and something they could relate to. Hatchet was one of my favorites. One time I read James and the Giant Peach to them. They were truly mesmerized as they tried to visualize the giant peach flying through the sky.
Literature was my favorite thing to teach. I could get all kinds of fascinating conversations going when we read books like The Cay, Anne Frank, The Twenty-One Balloons, and A Wrinkle in Time. Activities that linked the books made them all the more interesting to the kids. They’d weave a place mat while blindfolded when we read The Cay and create their own tesseract for A Wrinkle in Time. I’d have them keep reading response journals and I’d read them periodically. It was gratifying to see how they enjoyed the books.
Right now I have Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book on my desk waiting for me to read, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is in my briefcase. These are two books teachers tell me I need to read. I wonder if I were in a classroom if I would be teaching these. What else would I need to read? What are kids favorites as opposed to what is required? And is there a required book these days? So what do you think I should read? What about your students reading? What do you want them to read and what must they read? With so many books out there, maybe I’ll get a new sweatshirt that says “So Many Books, So Many Questions.”