Lesesne blogs each book she reads which never ceases to amaze me. I first heard Teri Lesesne speak at an institute day during NCTE. Janet Allen had organized a team of folks to present a day-long program prior to the official start of the conference (Secondary Reading or NCTE, I'll have to go back through my journals) . Who was there? Teri Lesesne, Bonnie Hill Campbell, Linda Rief and more. The day was organized with keynotes and round-table discussions. I led a round table. An eye-opening day early in my professional journey outside of the classroom, I'm not surprised that more than a decade later I'm still finding inspiration from Tere Lesesne.
I don't blog each book I read as Lesesne does. But I do I talk about them to friends quite a bit or my students. Feeling as if I had to write up each one would quickly sap the pleasure from the reading experience. Sometimes I'm moved to write or review, but I'll leave that to an occasional practice. I'm a habitual reader. There are few things I enjoy more than diving into a good story. Below are the books I read this month:
- The Sliver Chair, C.S. Lewis (February)
- The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis
- Witch & Wizard, James Patterson
- When the World Was Young, Tony Romano
- House Rules, Jodi Picoult
- The Looking Glass Wars, S.A. Bodeen
- The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
- Learning to Die in Miami: Confessions of a Refugee Boy, Carlos Eire
- S is for Spirit Bear: A British Columbia Alphabet (Alphabet Books), G.Gregory Roberts and Bob Douce
- Touching Spirit Bear, Ben Mikaelsen*
- Dear Author Letters of Hope, Joan Kaywell, ed.
- Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson*
- The Compound, S.A. Bodeed
- Huntress, Malinda Lo
*re-reads with students
So what does all of this reading mean? The first three books I read so that I could participate in my son's reading. We saw The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, so I dipped into his Narnia collection to read the last two. He asked me to read Patterson's Witch & Wizard after he read it, so I did and on our commutes from school one week we talked about the characters. A student in my first period class recommended The Looking Glass Wars--a futuristic Alice in Wonderland retelling. I wanted to honor his recommendation, knowing as Donalyn Miller writes in The Book Whisperer that he would be more open to my own title recommendations if I also took his. I've always believed that when it comes to independent reading in the classroom teachers need to follow Ralph Fletcher's advice. Though he talks to us about writing, his words are easily applied to our reading community classrooms: you need to know your students, know your resources and know how to teach [writing]. For me, knowing how to teach the readers in my room means knowing the books that will interest them. I read. I read what I can, when I can, as often as I can. It's that simple.