Required Reading Lists



We all have our favorite books. Ones that we want everyone to read. So we get multiple copies and assign them to all of our students. We read it and discuss it. And as hard as it is to believe, there is someone in our class that doesn't share our enthusiasm. What!? Someone doesn't like this timeless classic? Someone can't get into the plot? Someone would rather be reading something else!? 

In truth, required reading lists hold about as much fascination, for me, as mandatory meetings. It's that stubborn streak that surfaces. Tell me I HAVE to do something and I feel myself digging in for a siege.

Put me in a library and I immediately relax and head for the shelves.  I find something I will read, absorb, live. Not because I was forced to read it, but because I chose it. 

I've been guilty of having class novel reads. Dissecting a book to death. I've been on committees where we established reading lists for grade levels.  And, yes, I added my favorites to the list (as did everyone else). I've tortured students who did not share my literary tastes. I've destroyed a forest with countless worksheets that had to be completed before the students could understand the novel. Were my methods sincere? Yes. Thorough? Yes. Create life-long readers. Nope! Anytime you combine the words rigor or regimented with reading, you kill it. Literally. The joy of reading is replaced with the job of reading. 

After years of experience and exploring  I changed the methods of my madness.  I started expanding the reading lists to include student favorites. I used short reads to teach and reinforce skills. I created a literacy environment. Comfortable private reading places. An out-of-this-world class library. Turning the room into a scene from a book. One winter semester the room might be a tropical island or a land where it is always winter, but never Christmas! I (tried) to turn the novel read into an experience rather than an exercise. 

We need to rev up reading instead of making it a routine. 
After all what is more important a student reading a classic or a student reading?  

Rev up your reading routine with this fun fiction/nonfiction paired reads. Suspense. High interest short stories. Task cards.  47 pages of WoW! 

Fiction / Nonfiction Paired Reads







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