08 March 2011

Walking the Walk

Oh, Blogger. Why are you not letting me know there is a comment on my blog. There usually aren't many. You can at least let me know when there is one... or two.

Regardless: I'm teaching a class on literacy assessment for preservice elementary teachers this spring and we noticed an interesting disconnect the first day of class. When I asked students about how they would create readers in their classrooms, there was an overarching number of students who said that it was all about connecting readers to books, a la The Book Whisperer. Yet when I asked them about what they were reading, they admitted they weren't reading anything other than what they had to for class (and I sometimes doubt that). So however were they to connect readers to books if they have no idea what is out there?

Then I realized that I do very little reading outside of my own coursework / academic interests... And thus, I began forcing myself to walk the walk I was expecting of my students, reading at least one non-academic book a week and sharing those readings with them during the announcements portion of class. It's been lovely to leave the laptop downstairs and curl up with a book before bed... sometimes tricky, but rather lovely.

Some of the greatest hits recently:

Tinsel :: This book, written by a journalist, seeks to understand the contemporary meaning of the rituals that comprise Christmas as we know it. It's a narrative journey through the 2006 season in Frisco, Texas, and an enjoyable read at that.

Random Family :: I don't know how I haven't written about this one yet. This is a journalistic narrative following a group of teenagers growing up in the Bronx beginning in the early 1980's. LeBlanc follows these people through jail sentences, child birth, geographical moves, relationships, failures... it's breathtaking in the way that it captures the experience of people who are born into certain circumstances and work toward changing those circumstances. Brilliant book.

Before I Fall :: Oh, my. This YA novel had me from the moment I started the first page. I literally tore through this 400+ page book in a little over four hours. While Samantha, the protagonist, tries to think through her life and death, is sometimes frustrating and the prose, at times, sugary-sweet, it was a fully satisfying read.

I just picked up Cinderella Ate My Daughter from the library, which has been making the round on the news sources. While somewhat connected to my research interests, I'm counting it as a pleasure read.

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