Today I went into NYC to see “Hairspray” on Broadway with my friend’s day camp. A lot of my students from this past year were campers and we got to catch up a bit. Of course, I asked what they have been reading. What awesome language arts teacher wouldn’t? But I got a few recommendations from them, which made me happy. And we laughed because they are starting to see some of the ARCs we read earlier this year finally coming out in the bookstore. They love that they read the books and recommended them to friends before they were published.
Of course, we eventually got around to the summer reading list. The kids I didn’t teach seem to be avoiding summer reading, with most of them saying they will start after camp. But my former students have all finished their summer reading! I was so impressed. And even better, they enjoyed their books! Interestingly, everyone I talked to today read Cynthia Voight’s Homecoming (The Tillerman Series #1). They not only enjoyed it- they even read the next Dicey book on their own! How awesome is that? I do find it interesting that the newest book on the list seems to be the most-read. Yet it is also the longest book! It just shows what a great book talk can do for a book. Kids who would never choose a long book on their own chose it based on the summary I gave. Summer reading lists need to be booktalked!
Oh, and I was so happy to hear that a good number of my students have started using the public library this summer. In our town, the library is used to research projects and summer reading once the kids reach the middle grades. To hear that they are going to the library, taking out books, and even getting on the waiting list for popular books absolutely made my heart sing. (I know, I’m corny). But it made me feel like I made a difference!