Friday, April 08, 2011

For Some of Us, But Not All of Us

"For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die." 
 Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life)

Dear reader, I LOVE books. I'm a reader birthed by a Mother who was a reader, part of a family of readers. Have a couple thousand in print and am rapidly acquiring a few digital. Books are a big part of my life, and one, the Bible, has been the center of my life's work for many years now. There are books I have read many times, and authors I would dearly love to have a coffee with. Some stories have woven thread into my life's tapestry so well that they help make me... me.

So when I, someone who reads at least several hours a week, dozens of books a year gets to substitute teach in a reading class - a high school reading class - it ought to be just the brier patch I'd like. Well let me just report back from the halls of academia and let you know that just keeping 9th graders reading and not talking or whatever is a full time job, and even when they are reading, well... it ain't the Harvard Classics. It was disappointing to me.

There's so much you can receive from books - so much they can give you. Reread the quote from one of my favorite quirky writers of all time - Anne Lamott - above. That's what books can do. They can take you from wherever you are and send you to another time, another place. You can see the future, you can experience the past, and over time you find that books speak to you on a level past just words. You connect. You become.

This is the most connected generation in human history.

Except to what matters the most.

1 comment:

  1. I have a class of 9th grade students that does not like to read. However, all of my high schoolers are reading The Seventeen Second Miracle by Jason Wright. I've divided the book into five sections, and we're having book club discussions weekly. The kids answer questions from a study guide, and they're going to be writing character analyses. They're also going to be making movies based on that theme.

    I will say that most of these students have actually said they are enjoying the book. They were engaged during the first discussion we had, and the questions I asked during the discussion made them really think.

    Oh, and they have to write reflective journals as well, so that's more time for thinking on their part.

    The trick is creating lesson plans that are relevant to their lives while still hitting on the classics (or modern-print books).

    Hang in'll find some students who will surprise you in their love for reading.