Sunday, September 6, 2009

TSS: Reading Routine

Well, I am obviously not quite back into the routine of school. I only wrote one blog post last week and I didn't read a single page of a book until Friday night! I am hoping to develop some kind of routine that will allow me the necessary time I need to prepare for school, efficiently grade the 70 plus papers that I will soon have to add to the weekly schedule, and maintain my personal reading to fuel content for this blog. I know this is possible, it is just taking a bit longer to organize than I had originally hoped. Please be patient with me.

On the bookish side of life - I did manage to start Dog Gone It by Spencer Quinn yesterday afternoon and it is proving to be exactly the sort of fun, entertaining mystery that I had hoped it would be. Ever since the movie, Homeward Bound was released in 1993 (which is based on the book The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford) I have been fascinated with any story that is told from the dog's point of view. Their simple minds, humorous outlooks, and fiercely loyal character traits easily translate into a sympathetic narrator with whom this reader can fully relate. I am about half way finished and plan to have a review written sometime early next week.

On another bookish note, my daughter, who is a junior in high school, has to read Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold for her AP Language class. The twist to this assignment, however, is that she has to read the book with a parent and then schedule four separate book conversations with chosen parent over the next 4-6 weeks. Well, it appears that I am the "chosen" one, but since I read this book about a year ago, I am truly looking forward to re-reading it and actually talking about it with Mandy. I think it will be interesting to compare our perceptions of the book (given our 30+ year age difference) as well as discuss the author's writing style (the main focus of the English course). I think I will also post our conversations on this blog, if there is an interest.

Finally, I am giving some thought to the "book club" class that I offered at school last year. At that time it was a one credit course and met on a regular basis. This year I simply do not have time in my schedule to offer the class for credit, but I have had a few students ask if we could meet on an informal basis. What English teacher could say no to that request?! I must say that I am very excited that there are still high school students who love to read as much as I do.

Since the class will not be taken for credit, I feel as though we can be a bit more relaxed in our reading requirement and that has truly opened my mind to several possibilities. One idea that I have is to devote each month to a separate genre. We could all read one book together and discuss it at the first meeting of the month. Then, each member would select a book of his or her choice within that genre and report to the group at the remaining three weekly meetings. This will allow all of us to be exposed to a variety of different books (and of course add to our TBR lists), and it would also allow us to experience a true book club environment. I even think it might be fun to have theme style "parties" at that first meeting of the month - which introduces the new genre.
Another idea that I have for this group is to devise our own reading challenge --- similar to the many challenges available in this blogosphere. In fact, I was going to show them the Novel Challenge website and let them see just how creative we might be. Some of these students read several books a week, so I think they can probably develop some fairly elaborate challenges, if they so desire.

Finally, I thought it might be a fun fund-raiser opportunity to schedule a read-a-thon for the school. I am not sure that I can pull it off to concur with the Dewey 24 Hour Read-a-thon on October 24-25 (my thought would be to schedule the school event on Friday, October 23), but I might be able to coordinate a school-wide event to coincide with Dr. Seuss's birthday, the first week in March. My plan (somewhat selfishly) would be to have all my classes bring in a book of their choice to read for the entire class period (each class is 55 minutes and I teach 6 classes --- just think of the reading I would accomplish!). Students could solicit donations prior to the event (say 10 cents for each minute read) and then collect the money afterwards. The money collected could either go to support the school (our financial needs are tremendous) OR we could choose a literacy foundation and donate the money to a good cause. Obviously this is just in the beginning stages of my brainstorming process, but I think it may have potential. What do you think?

Finally, I am thoroughly enjoying this US holiday weekend that honors all those who Labor in life :) I am very excited that Half Price Bookstore has decided to celebrate this long weekend with a 20% off sale and I plan to take advantage of their generosity. I will be sure to post my bargains on this blog.

I hope you all are enjoying the last official weekend of summer and are looking forward to a great fall season filled with cooler weather, seasonal treats, and relaxing reading.

18 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I love your daughter's assignment and wish my son had been assigned something like that. A reading challenge for you book club is a fantastic idea!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Your book club class sounds wonderful. I like the idea that parents have to be in on reading The Lovely Bones. I want to read Dog On It (just because of the premise) so I will look forward to your review!

Diane said...

Missed you Molly! I LOVED The Lovely Bones (looking forward to the movie in December. Your book club class sounds great too.

Thoughts of Joy said...

I haven't read The Lovely Bones yet. I started it, but wasn't in the mood for it at the time. Anyway, I love the assignment!!! Great idea!

JaneGS said...

Boy, would I have mixed feelings were my daughter in your daughter's class! On the one hand, LB is a powerful book that could lead to great discussions. However, I personally found the first chapter too disturbing to read and couldn't ask my daughter to read what I couldn't. And, as involved as I am in my kids' education, I can't agree that an assignment should require parent participation. I'll be interested to hear how this experience works out for the two of you!

Laughing Stars said...

My 15 y/o daughter and I read The Lovely Bones together several years ago, and we both thought it was a beautiful book. I had no idea they were assigning it in high school English classes though. I wonder why they chose this one in particular?

Kaye said...

I think it will be interesting to see the difference in opinion between you and your daughter. Different generations could read more or less into it than the other. Keep us informed.

Cooler weather? Doesn't happen here until about November. By then we are definitely ready for it!

Ti said...

You'll get back into a reading routine soon enough. You'll see.

I think that it's pretty neat that you will be discussing LB with your daughter. The movie is coming out soon too. Maybe you can tie the two together.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

This is a very well designed review site! I've added your fantastic blog to our author's resources page as a great source for non-fiction book reviews.

http://www.stepbystepselfpublishing.net/free-book-reviews.html

Let me know if you want to change your submission guidelines. This blog is an great resource-- I'm so glad I found it.

Lisa said...

"Lovely Bones" is a heavy read for junior high aged kids but what a great idea so read it with a parent. Kudos to the teacher for pushing the students. I, for one, would love to hear what the two of you discuss!

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

I love the idea of a 24-Hour Read-a-thon type of fundraiser for your school! I say, go for it ...

red headed book child said...

Hi there. I just discovered your blog. Lovely!
I have Dog On It and the second one as well by Spencer Quinn (which I can't remember the name of) Haven't read them yet but they seem fun.

And Lovely Bones is on my books-being -made- into movies list to read.
I look forward to following you.

Michelle (Red Headed Book Child)

Florinda said...

Between the book club and the read-a-thon/fundraiser idea, I think your students are lucky to have you (and vice versa)!

I haven't been able to bring myself to read The Lovely Bones, but I think that assignment sounds very interesting.

JoAnn said...

I doubt our school district could get away with required assignments for parents! I do hope you'll post about your discussion of The Lovely Bones. It was one of my daughter's possible choices for summer reading, but I steered her away from it. I think it would have disturbed her too much (but her sister could have handled it...as could most kids capable of the AP level).

I love your book club class ideas, and the read-a-thon fund raiser. I hope your school knows how lucky they are to have you!!

mattviews said...

My problem with developing a routine for the sachool year is that one week into the fall semester, that semblance of a routine is interrupted by Labor Day weekend. Some of the students return to classroom after that weekend like zombies. *sigh*

My reading habit, at least, always remains the same. Those two hours every morning are just precious for me as a reader! :)

Nan said...

I love your daughter's assignment! I also think it is awesome that your students what a book club. How cool is that! Have a good week.

Jenners said...

I love your daughter's assignment ... and "The Lovely Bones" was a powerful and well-done book. I was just thinking of it the other night ... probably because the movie version is coming out soon. I love your book club and fund raising idea!

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

I've now read this post twice because I love the excitement you have for both reading and teaching. It comes through loud and clear. And it's obvious to me that your excitement/passion is shared by many. I like your idea of sharing the book conversation between you and your daughter. I've done that with my daughters and we all enjoyed the experience.

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