If time flies when you’re having fun, then I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my reading life in 2017 since I have no idea where this year went! This was the third year with Independent Reading in my classroom and I think it has been one of the best. From freshmen rekindling the love of reading that they remember having in elementary school, to seniors begging “Please! Just five more minutes!” when the timer buzzed, students have been exploring and engaged with titles of their choice.
One of the unforseen bonuses of Independent Reading this year was the success of poetry in all of my classes. I give all of the credit to books like Milk and Honey and Whiskey, Words and a Shovel. They served as “gateway verse” to other collections such as There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, The Princess Saves Herself in This One, The Chaos of Longing, Forgive Me My Salt, New American Best Friend, and Night Sky with Exit Wounds. Not only were students reading poetry, but their reading choices encouraged one junior to add a third English class to his schedule – a poetry elective – when he is required to take only two. How cool is that? My English teacher heart is just about exploding.
Another awesome moment happened with my seniors who are searching out topics and genres of interest as they transition from teen to adult. One student loved Lab Girl so much that she purchased a copy for her current science teacher. I don’t know if this is the sentiment that Penny Kittle wanted to reflect when she titled her text Book Love, but seeing how this student is sharing what touched her with others definitely “gives me all the feels” as my students would say.
Finally, students self-reported how many books and pages they consumed over the course of 2017. Their numbers are phenomenal. Top performers include:
- ACP juniors who read
- 27 books 7,953 pages (Christine)
- 27 books 7,686 pages (Brandon)
- 24 books 7,862 pages (Abby)
- 21 books 6,874 pages (Krisha)
- 9th grade honors who read
- 49 books 13,204 pages (Nancy)
- 44 books 12,681 pages (Piper)
- 43 books 13,527 pages (Helen)
- 38 books 12,224 pages (Natalie)
- Honors World Literature students – 2nd semester seniors – who read
- 22 books 5,934 pages (Eleni)
- 15 books 4,183 pages (Olivia)
- 13 books 4,123 pages (Conner)
- 15 books 4,094 pages (Maddie)
On average, my freshmen read 21 books and 6,000 pages, juniors read 16.5 books and 4,250 pages and my seniors – who should have been partaking in the infamous Senior Slump – read an average of 14 books 3,400 pages each between February and the end of May! With that accomplishment alone, I could retire tomorrow fully satisfied.
But, I can’t end this post without sharing pictures from one of my favorite days all year: the class period when students helped each other take their end-of-year Book Stack Shots. In a noisy atmosphere that can best be described as organized chaos, students helped each other locate, stack, and document all that they had read this year. They weren’t afraid to let their personalities show. I hope you enjoy the photos and maybe even glean some titles for your To Be Read list. Special thanks to the Trumbull High School Media Center for letting us raid the shelves during the last week of school!
Happy Summer Reading, folks!