Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Reading Time

“Good book, Mark?” I asked.  Each morning all Backpack Middle School students spend 20 minutes silently reading something of their choice like a book, magazine, newspaper, or increasingly, something electronic.  Since my first period class is Cadet Band, I have 6th graders in BandLand during reading time.

In answer to my question, Mark nodded and showed me the cover of his book:  Old Tractors, and the Men Who Love Them.

“Good choice,” I said, “Carry on.”  Mark’s reading choices are always, shall we say, practical, like a catalog of firearms, or the mechanical specs of farm machinery.

Most students choose to read fiction.  Books like the Warriors series by Erin Hunter and the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer seem especially popular.  A few years ago, there was a waiting list in the library for any book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, but interest has faded a bit.  Other favorites include Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney, anything with Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson (never goes out of style), and, occasionally, the Bible.

LionWardrobeSometimes a student will forget a book for reading time, which gives me the opportunity to suggest one of the classics I enjoyed as a kid, like The Call of the Wild, by Jack London.  One day not long ago, a student named Jacob asked me for a recommendation, so I offered him my copy of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, the first book in The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.  He looked a little skeptical, so I said,

“Usually, when students forget their books I have them write sentences.”

“What’s the sentence,” Jacob asked, not thinking too clearly.

“You would have to write 40 times, ‘Reading a book would be better than wasting time writing these sentences.’

“I think I’ll read the book,” he decided.

“Good choice,” I said, as he returned to his seat, began reading, and was quickly hooked; now he is half way through Prince Caspian.