Monday, November 30, 2015

The Love of Reading Lives On!

I had a group of Grade 8 students working in my classroom the other day. They were working on a variety of projects and activities and sitting in small groups around the room.

One of students started a discussion about the book he was reading (In a Handful of Dust by Mindy McGinnis). He knew a few others had read the first book in the series (Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy as well) and asked if they thought it was okay to read the books out of order.

One girl used the phrase companion book and, having read both books, told him it would be fine, although there could be a few spoilers about a character. A few other students agreed, and the conversation turned to what they liked about the world building in the book.

Another boy chimed in about the world building in Extraction by Stephanie Diaz and he encouraged them to read it because, while it was really different in almost every way, he thought all the books created vivid worlds, powerful characters, and intriguing (his word!) conflict, and that students who liked one would like the other.

The conversation was interrupted by the bell, but it was some great eavesdropping for so many reasons:

  • the authors the kids spoke about are friends of mine from Agent Query Connect (the kids know nothing about my connection to these authors)
  • the gender of the main character didn't matter to anyone
  • the conversation was completely and totally spontaneous
  • there was NO adult intervention or commentary (I sat back quietly and grinned!!!)
  • they showed great understanding of the books and all kinds of literary concepts
  • they were able to look past the obvious dis-similarities to deeper connections within the books
Talk about an uplifting few minutes! So, for those of you who are worried about the next generation of readers, relax! 

What about you? What positive reading have you seen and heard about lately?

33 comments:

  1. I love hearing this! Especially that kids are talking about books and reading. :) I have a feeling that your encouragement and love for reading also makes them excited about books, Jemi!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth - it was an awesome moment :)

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  2. You're right, that was a rare moment you couldn't interrupt. Good to know kids do understand books on an intellectual level and can discuss them.

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    1. It was like visiting an adult book club :)

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  3. What a great conversation to listen in on--and a good move by you to keep out of it, though it must have been difficult.

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  4. You are in such a unique position where you get to hear conversations like this. And awesome that kids at that age are still excited about books.

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  5. The fact that you didn't prompt that conversation is wonderful.

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  6. I love this post. Love listening to kids… I sometimes think they're smarter than us.

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  7. Smart kids. How you must have been grinning internally!

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  8. This is so awesome!! I was grinning just reading your account of it. I've encountered young readers (a bit younger, 4th and 5th grade) who were deeply into the books they read, so I've been encouraged before. But this is so great to hear! :D

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    1. It was such a fabulous few minutes - loved it!

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  9. I seriously love this so much. Thanks for sharing, Jemi. :)

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  10. That had to be one of those 'moments' you have in teaching when you feel your trust in the younger generation renewed. I love being around young people who love books.

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    1. Me too! Definitely my favourite part of the job!! :)

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  11. Hi human, Jemi!

    After reading your pawesome pawst, I have every faith in the next generation of young, enthusiastic readers. Wonderful.

    Take care, eh!

    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses,

    Penny xx

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    1. Thanks Penny! The future is in very good hands, eh! :)

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  12. My book is currently on Wattpad, where it's picking up quite a lot of reads, and since Friday, two of my presumably teenage readers have been debating in the comments about some deeply philosophical aspects to my characters' relationships with each other.

    I have to say it's an awesome feeling to see people engage with my writing like this. :-)

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    1. That is awesome!!! I'm going to have to check out Wattled one of these days - and direct my students in that direction! :)

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  13. Sounds like an awesome bunch of kids :)

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  14. That is so exciting. I'm not a teacher, but work as the school social worker. Not too long ago, I had a conversation with a student who said she would rather read than do anything else. My heart melted.

    Teresa

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    1. It is exciting! Love when I hear kids talking so positively about books & reading - my heart melts too :)

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  15. Aw, that's awesome! Too often people try to claim that younger generations couldn't care less about reading. Your post makes it clear that this isn't the case! :)

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    1. It really isn't! My students almost all love to read! :)

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  16. I love listening to kids talk about books. That must be one of the best things about being a teacher - that, and sharing the books you love with them!

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    1. It really is, Beth! Not much better :)

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  17. How awesome! I love that you got to hear that conversation. What a treat! So interesting to hear kids talking about books, series, and writers without adult intervention. Love it!!
    ~Jess

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