The following is a guest post written by my lovely wife. She would love a little help from my Nerdy Book Club friends.
My name is Alaina Sharp and I am a high school chemistry teacher. I don’t really belong in your world. I couldn’t tell you the difference between alliteration and allusion without looking it up on Google, and I couldn’t fathom diagramming a sentence.
But, I do have one very important thing in common with you: I love to read and I desire to share this love of reading with my students.
As I watch my students in class and talk with them, I get the funny feeling like they aren’t reading anything at all. For the most part, they hate their assigned books in English class (and use Spark Notes to get by) and don’t read for pleasure.
I feel that reading has made a huge difference in my life. It has made me more creative and eloquent, more experienced and imaginative, more empathetic and observant. I think it would be a disservice for me not to pass these opportunities for growth to my students.
As a science teacher, I have to get a little creative in order to address this. Our school offers a forty-five minute per week session on Wednesdays called “Power Play”. During this time, students are offered remediation in classes they are currently struggling in. Those who do not need remediation are offered an enrichment session. This time I’m offering one called, “Reading Doesn’t Have to Be Horrible! Come READ with me!”
To my delight, a full classroom’s worth of students signed up for the session, but now I’m stumped. After looking at the names of the students who signed up, it’s apparent that many of them are already students who love to read and wanted the time during the day to be able to do that. I’m not sure how many non-readers I managed to snag on my list. What do I do with these students during this time? I am totally out of the realm of my own expertise and I could use your help.
One option I thought of was to bring a huge stack of books to the session and spend the first 20 minutes giving a short “book talk” about 5-7 of these books. For the remaining time, I could have students choose a book that looked interesting and just read. If they like it, they can take it with them for the rest of the week. If they don’t like it, they can try another one.
Am I way off base here? What else can I do or should I do? I want to do right by these kids, so any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.