Let's Get Digital

A blog by a student, for the student

Book Love 8&9 — April 24, 2018

Book Love 8&9

This week, we read from Penny Kittle’s “Book Love”. What I liked about this weeks reading was the focus on the growth of the students as readers. I was never a strong reader, so growing was really exciting and sometimes frustrating for me. I loved to read, but could never find the passion. Kittle talks about book logs and journals that help her navigate where her students are as readers. This tells her what books they are reading, how fast they are reading them, and how well they are understanding them. It is important for students to see that you are taking an interest in their learning/reading lives. I really liked the section on determining difficulty. Students should be challenging themselves to read harder and larger books. If students are reading from the same genre and same difficulty level, they will never grow as readers. One thing that I do not agree with is the reading rate. It should not matter how many pages they are reading or how fast they are reading. This is one of the biggest reasons that I disliked reading was due to a pressure to perform.

But besides that, I really like Kittle’s idea to make a community of readers in the school. Students should be able to book talk a book without looking like a nerd and should be able to share their books with others. She talks about a schoolwide reading break which I cant see happening simply because some teachers do not want their time interrupted, but I think it would be a great idea. I think it would be a good idea and great student project to have a pinboard outside of your classroom with book recommendations for the students. Each student takes a week and posts their recommendation on the board. The student will get credit based on how well they recommend the book, and all the students can see that the class is reading and sharing their experiences.

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Summer Reading —

Summer Reading

So it is the end of the semester, and now we have to decide what we will be doing all summer long. For me, reading has never been a summer priority. There are always many more things to do. I spend all school year in the library slaving over a computer, or in my bed rushing through my weekly reading. I do not want to spend my whole summer face-deep in a book. While I have discovered a new passion for reading, a book a day or ever book a week seems too ambitious when I have so much to accomplish for myself over the summer. My summer reading plan will be to finish three books. This is a pretty realistic goal considering I will have a full-time job on top of working out, socializing, spending time with family, and taking advantage of the summer heat.

Three books will give me the motivation to finish, but not to rush, and is a great goal for myself as a reader. I actually have a few books in mind that I would like to accomplish over the summer. Those are either The “Fifty Shades” series, or “Thirteen Reasons Why”, “As You Wish” and “Love, Simon”. I bought these three at Walmart the other day, and I have been waiting to dive into them. For my summer reading, I plan to stick mainly to YA literature as it is the most interesting to me, but I look forward to moving into some adult literature in the future. I hope to keep collecting books, and making my classroom library as this summer progresses.

Even though I do not plan to read much this summer, I hope that I can continue the good habits I acquired from this class throughout next school year and the rest of my life.

Struggle Bus —

Struggle Bus

These past two weeks have been really tough on me because of how much stuff we have coming up. With finals week, and some of us graduating, it is crazy to think how far we have come. Because of the stress of everything around me, I have not had much time to read and therefore just finished my book. The book that I chose to read for the remainder of the class was “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”. I have always been interested in the Holocaust, and have never read this book cover to cover, so I decided to give it a shot. I loved this book. It takes a very interesting account and focuses on the life of a young German boy whose father is a Nazi. The boy accidentally befriends a Jewish boy who is living in the concentration camps. He does not understand why he is behind a fence, or why he wears pajamas, but that does not bother him. The unlikely friends meet at the fence and share food and fun. Meanwhile, his father and the army work through to adult issues. This is an interesting book because it takes the role of a child dealing with some very mature and horrific issues.

I really loved how the friendship was at the center of the entire book, and not friendship is too far-fetched. The book ends in a horrific and terrible way but leaves a message for all of us. I do not want to give it away if you have not seen the movie or read the book, but it is a tear-jerker for sure. I would recommend this book for anyone interesting in the Holocaust or willing to step out of their comfort zone. It is not too graphic and leaves you wondering about the life that you lead.

A Child Called “It” — April 9, 2018

A Child Called “It”

 

it

 

If you have never read “A Child Called ‘It'”, you should definitely give it a try. I am not sure if this is a young adult novel, but it is written in a way that I would imagine it as a YA book. This book follows the life of a young boy who lived with his mom and siblings. His siblings seem to live a normal life, but he is not treated the same. He lives in the basement of the house and is thrown scraps of food to eat. He is not bathed or nurtured, and if often punished for things that he did not do. One of his punishments is to eat the burnt food off of the bottom of the pan. He does so and pukes. His mother then makes him eat his own vomit. Another of his punishments is placing his hand on the hot stove. We follow him through daily life and the entrance of family services who come for a visit at the house one day. He falls for his mothers love that she shows him during her visit, and then he is thrown back in the basement.

This is a really hard read because of the issues that he faces as an abused and neglected child. This is a great book to have in your classroom library because it tells a story that we don’t want to hear, and it could relate to some children and how they were raised. It is important for students to know that things like this happen, and it could be happening to the student sitting next to you. Just like “The Hate U Give”, it is important to care for our peers and stand up for those who are struggling because you never know what is happening to them at home.

Down With Reading — April 5, 2018

Down With Reading

I was never much of a reader before coming to college. I thought reading was a germ just like our readings. As a reluctant reader, I know all the excuses in the book, and I know how it feels to want to read, but just never have the motivation to really get into a book. That is why I am excited to take on classes with reluctant readers. Knowing that I was in their shoes and that I can transform their thoughts would be a great tactic for motivation. But if the “I have been there” move does not work, I will use some of the ideas that this class and this weeks reading have taught me.

  1. Have students search for books that they would like to read. Once you have a list compiled, order some of the books on the list. This way, kids can see new and wanted books coming into the classroom. For reluctant readers, at least they are researching and reading through books that they might find interesting.
  2. This one is my own idea, but many times, reluctant readers do not read because tackling a novel can seem daunting at first. So, subscribe to a few magazines. ESPN, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, etc. would be great materials for readers to look through during reading time. And maybe they get interested in an article and from that interest, you can recommend a book.
  3. Book Affection is the perfect way to show your students that loving to read is not a bad thing and that being a reader will actually help them in the future. The reason I began reading and loving to read is that I want my kids and students to love to read, and they cannot do that if I do not show that same passion.
  4. Book talking is a great way to show that affection and the perfect way to get kids collaborating on books. You will want to make this a priority, and make sure that all students are sharing. Even if a reluctant reader makes it through two chapters of a book, or a magazine article, encourage him to share what he liked and didn’t like, and if he would recommend it to others.
  5. Finally, you want the students to want to please you, but moreover, you should want them to please themselves. While students love the extrinsic reward of a good grade or positive comment, they will also love the feeling they have of accomplishment when they finish a book, or for some, even starting a book. while you should push them to work for extrinsic rewards, you need to stress the reward that comes intrinsically too.

 

Monday Reading — April 4, 2018

Monday Reading

three

 

 

This week, I began reading “A Wrinkle in Time”. While I tried to get into it, I am not finding that I like it too much. I want to read it in order to watch the movie, but I also am not too excited when I pick it up. I focused most of my reading this week on two required books for other classes including “Frankenstein”. I understand that I will not like all the books that I read and that I can drop books as I please, but this book is the choice for book club, so…I have to read it, and just endure it. So, for this blog, I would like to discuss a book that I read in the past but wanted to share with all of you. This book is called “Three Little Words”. This is an intensely deep book about a girl who came from a neglectful and dangerous home environment and was then passed from foster home to foster home before going back to her mother, being removed from her brother, and taken from her mother again. As heart throbbing this book is, it is also an interesting take on how a child is raised, and how this upbringing can alter a child’s life.

One of the scenes that really help you understand what a child takes in and remembers is when the girl is at daycare and is playing with two toy bears. She asks the kids around her if they want to see how her mommy and daddy have fun together and proceeds to show the children a sexual encounter. She does not realize what she is showing, but the teacher does and approaches the parents about the situation. Even if you do not think that a child is paying attention, they pick up on everything that you do. This is an important lesson for all adults, teachers, and parents as students and children pick up on everything that you do, and that we need to set an example for them.

YALSA Blog — March 27, 2018

YALSA Blog

 

sandwiches

 

I was really excited to see what this was all about. When Dr. E said “Book Lists”, I knew I had to check it out. I love book lists. Not because they offer a variety of new books to read, but they offer an interesting look into what people are reading, and what everyone is collectively liking. I especially love these lists because they give me good ideas of what I need to be reading to prepare for a High School classroom, and what books I should be buying to put on my shelves. I have picked up many interesting and exciting new options from these lists so I will share a few with you.

  1. 2018 Great Graphic Novels for Teens- http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2018-great-graphic-novels-teens
  • The Creeps By Fran Krause- the story of irrational and real fears
  • The Best We Could Do By Thi Bui – a story about the Vietnam War
  • Lighter Than My Shadow By Katie Green – a story about an eating disorder
  • Angel City: Town without Pity By Janet Harvey – a murder mystery

2. 2018 Quick Picks for Reluctant YA Readers- http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2018-quick-picks-reluctant-young-adult-readers

  • Sandwiches By Alison Deering – a book of sandwich recipes
  • Solo and Playbook By Kwame Alexander
  • Allegedly By Tiffiny D. Jackson – story about a nine-year-old murder suspect

3. 2013 Readers Choice List- http://www.ala.org/yalsa/readers-choice

  • Cinder By Marissa Meyer
  • Shadow and Bone By Leigh Bardugo

What I love about all these lists, especially for reluctant readers, is that they offer such a wide range of books and genres. Like a book about Sandwich recipes. Nothing intrigues maturing kids as much as food, and what better way to get them reading than to give them a book all about food? I can not wait to get my hands on some of these books, and I am excited to keep up with the lists. I think these would be fun to post on my classroom walls each year so kids always have a chance to hear about a new book. This is also a good way to make sure that I am keeping up with all the books that my students may want to be reading. And you can never go wrong with pulling up a reading list to a stumped or reluctant reader in individual reading conferences. Overall, I am so thrilled to see resources like this and hope to use them in my future class.

Lois Lowry Kick — March 26, 2018

Lois Lowry Kick

 

son

 

Because I was so obsessed with my last Lois Lowry read, I decided to check out her last book in the Giver Series, “Son”. This book follows the mother of Gabriel, the boy in “The Giver” who is sentenced to be killed because of an abnormality in his genes. This is an interesting take because “The Giver” outlines certain women as birthing women which basically means that a select group of women is chosen to give birth to all the children in the community. Meaning that this mother would have never been the mother of the child, only birthed him, and nurtured him until he was ready to go to his family.

If you have not read “The Giver”, you must read it before this one, but I definitely recommend this series. I love this series because I believe that most Utopian Fiction is based on this story. Some correlations are found in “The Hunger Games” as District 12 is stripped of color and cannot afford the wealth it takes to have color, “The Giver” is set in a completely black and white community where the government took away color to make sure that all things are equal, and “Gathering Blue” where one color is considered “unobtainable”. This makes you wonder what color has to do with a community, and not just skin, but also clothing and wealth. We also find a correlation in “Divergent” compared to “The Giver” but instead of taking a test to find out where the kids will work in the community, “The Giver” has a government who decides where the children will go. There are many more comparisons that I could make, but I do not want to spoil anything for you if you have not read the series.

I am excited to purchase all of Lois Lowry’s books, and I am hoping to read “A Summer to Die” next.

Social Media and Reading — March 21, 2018

Social Media and Reading

We are a very lucky generation in that all we have to do to find a book is type the title in a box, hit “search”, hit “order” and the book will arrive in 3-5 business days. When we look up these books, we have access to reviews, plot summaries, and author interviews. We have the world at our fingertips, but we aren’t using all of our tools, and many can and already are making advancements in literary life. Students and kids are absorbed into social media. In this media, they check out celebrities, follow their friends every movement, and keep track of their daily social happenings. But there are hidden secrets of social media that we should be encouraging our students to use. Instagram is a great source to follow authors and clubs to check out new books and upcoming authors. This is a cool idea because you can see the covers of the books, and although we don’t admit to it, we all judge books by their covers. Another great source is through SnapChat. This is one that surprised me, but you can often find new reads or interviews on the stories page, share stories with your friends about what you are reading, or chat in groups about your books while sharing pictures.

I am excited to explore Instagram as a readers site. I never thought that Instagram would have much to do with education, but there are a lot of pages that could really help young and mature readers find new and exciting books! Some examples to look for on Instagram: #instabooks, #bookstagram, @bookofthemonth, @bookfairiesworldwide, @bookclubcentral, are just a few options to follow and tag. I am really thinking of creating a page and posting some books that I have already read, and hope that some pages will follow me to build my page.

You Won’t Regret “The Hate U give” — March 19, 2018

You Won’t Regret “The Hate U give”

After finishing this book, I can happily say that it is among my favorite of YA novels that I have ever read, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who asks. The way that this story is told is completely YA but still struggles with some big issues. Angie Thomas does a great job portraying this young and confused character who needs to make some huge and life-altering decisions. We can all relate to her mindset even if we have never been in a similar situation as Starr. Her choices between friends, boyfriends, race, family, defending her friend, and sticking to the white side all become apparent issues in Starr’s life. What I loved about this book was Starr’s asides to the audience other than her actual conversations. We learn a lot about Starr, Black English and her inner struggle with her asides to herself. We often read the aspects of her conversation, what she really wants to say, through the asides. She tells a lot about how strong she acts or appears. Starr often comes off strong, and if we only read the conversations she had with others, we would have no idea how afraid, angry and confused she is about her entire situation. Her little asides give us insight into her family’s life, her friend’s thoughts, and biases from Starr’s side of the story. It would be interesting to read this book from the point of view of the cop who shot her friend, and how his life changed after the fact.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this book, and I really hope it could be turned into a film or maybe even a Netflix Original like “Thirteen Reasons Why”. It could be great to see these characters come to life and really empathize with Starr, and her situation. I would recommend this read to both YA and adult readers and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.