The Power of a Book

When I was in middle school, my mother used to yell at me for reading.  It sounds crazy, right?  But sometimes she was right. (I won’t agree that she was right all the time!)  In the days before cell phones and e-readers, I carried a book with me everywhere.  Ok, sometimes more than one book. :)  I am the oldest of six, so as a child I was always at someone’s basketball or soccer game.  It was a way of life.  But what middle schooler enjoys watching their siblings at practice?  Boooring. So I brought my book(s) with me.

Those books meant I was far and away from the physical place where I sat.  My mother told me I was anti-social.  And maybe she was right.  I remember her telling me that classmates walked by and said hello without any acknowledgement from me.  I was sitting there, reading my book, and had no idea they had been there.  I was in my own world.  I was in my book’s world.

Those books transported me from the loud gym, the hot soccer field, the hard bleachers, to worlds all their own.  It’s been many years since I was in middle school, but I can still list some of the books that I carried with me. (I was a big rereader).  I read the entire The Complete Anne of Green Gables series multiple times.  Instead of sitting in the cold gym, surrounded by the crashing of basketballs and the sounds of sneakers squeaking on the floor, I was sitting in a rowboat on the Lake of Shining Waters.  I was with Anne, my kindred spirit, exploring Prince Edward Island.  Those books had the power to transport me out of New Jersey and into Prince Edward Island.

I also love L.M. Montgomery’s lesser-known series, the Emily series. As a young tween, I stumbled upon two old books in my grandmother’s house.  They were published in 1925 and 1927, and the romantic in me fell in love before I realized they were written by one of my favorite authors.  I read and reread those two books over and over, for years.  They connected me to my grandmother, and to the person who had owned them before her.  Someday, I will pass them on to my own children.

Someday, those books, and those two girls- Anne and Emily- will hopefully be kindred spirits for the girls who come after me.

Someday, another young girl will find the two books in the picture. Maybe on an old bookshelf, or in a closet.  Maybe in a trunk, or an attic.

And some other young reader will know the power of a book to transport one to another world.  The power of a book.

 

 

 

Check out today’s hosts:  Carol at Rasco from RIF and Donalyn Miller, the Book Whisperer!

E-readers in Their Bookbags (and Purses, and Gym Bags, and Lockers)

Over the past two years, I have seen more of my students carrying e-readers, so the most recent NYTimes article  “E-Readers Catch Younger Eyes and Go in Backpacks” did not surprise me.  Last year, as a sixth grade teacher, I had 1-2 students in each class who asked permission to use their e-readers during independent reading (Kindles and Nooks).  They always caused a buzz the first time they came in, with other students (and even teachers!) crowding around, oohing and ahhing.  After that, they were just another format in the classroom.

This year in high school, I started the year with about 6% of my class using e-readers (mostly Kindles).  After Christmas vacation, I had an even larger percentage using Kindles, iPads, and Nooks.  I think I am up to around 10-12% of my class using e-readers.  I do notice more of my students reading the classics offered for free download, but that could also be a result of my 40 Book Reading Challenge, which requires that they read 3 canon classics.  However, the e-readers make it easier for my students to access the classics.  And this might be crazy, but I also think my students download the classics because a lot of them lack covers or consist of solid color covers.  There is not “judging a book by its cover” because it doesn’t really have one.  Thus, they go into the book without any preconceived notions about it being boring.  Not for nothing, but so many of the classics have atrocious covers that do not attract modern teen readers.  E-readers take that out of the equation!

I am also seeing them read new books, downloading recommendations from friends and books that I booktalk in class.  They also pass the e-readers around, letting friends borrow them to read books.

I’m still a holdout.  I use my iPad to carry books on vacation, but otherwise I stick to paper copies.  I can’t put e-copies in my classroom library.  :)  However, I am a fan of anything that gets kids reading, so keep buying your kids those e-readers!  And publishers, make your newest YA and middle grade titles available as e-books.  If you sell it, they will buy it!

 

Busy as a Bee!

I probably won’t be around a lot this week.  Why, you ask?  Well, this coming Sunday I am getting married!  Needless to say, planning has cut into my reading and blogging time. ;)  However, I will try to post a few reviews this week, along with a giveaway!

Back in Action….For Real!

Apologies for the extended blog break.  While I figured I would be posting only sporadically in June due to the typical “end of the year” cleanup, it intensified beyond my preparations.  But school ended this week, I ran around like a nut finishing up some other plans, and now I finally have settled into “summer”.  This week I am diving into my summer reading, diving back into blogging, and getting ready for next year!

Coming soon….

I will be back over the next few days.  I am consumed with shutting down school, entering grades, and packing up my classroom right now.  I barely even have time to read!

48-Hour Book Challenge Update

Time Reading: 10ish hours?

Books completed: 8

Time Blogging/Social Media: 3.5 hours

Pages Read: 1337

Completed book listThe Strange Case of Origami YodaThe Jaguar Stones, Book One: MiddleworldThis Is Me From Now On Shakespeare Bats CleanupThe Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe (Scientists in the Field Series)The Kite FightersSeaglass Summer, Whaling Season: A Year in the Life of an Arctic Whale Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series)

BEA, Here I Come!

I got my approval today to attend BEA on Wednesday!  I know there is a Kidlit drink night that night, and I plan to stop by, but who else will be around during the day?  What is a “can’t miss”?  I haven’t even looked at the schedule yet…..

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