Who Am I Reading For?

Who am I reading for-.jpg

Next fall. I’m going to be moving from third grade to fifth grade. The first thing that I thought about was the books that I am going to get to read aloud to my students. The second thing that I thought about was all the great books that I’ll get to book talk.

I wrote a post asking people to share with me what books they think would make great read alouds in a fifth-grade classroom. The titles recommended were fascinating. A lot of books that I expected popped up in multiple recommendations: Wonder, Fish In A Tree, The War That Saved My Life. I was surprised to see Because Of Mr. Terupt being recommended so many times. The first thought that came to my mind was ugh, I don’t have time to read this book. That thought really bugged me. If so many people love this book that I haven’t read, why don’t I have time to give it a chance? The answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I think that the reason that I felt like I didn’t have time to read Because Of Mr. Terupt was because I was reading for the wrong reasons. At times I get so caught up in reading the new books everyone is talking about on Twitter and Facebook, that I forget to slow down and just read what I want to read. I’m never going to be able to read everything (typing that sentence really sucked).

I don’t want my students to ever feel like reading is a competition or a contest. If I don’t want them to look at reading that way, why in the world am I allowing myself to get look at it that way?

I’m going to read books that are potential read alouds for my fifth-grade classroom.

I’m going to read books that I think my own children might like.

I”m going to read books that I can book talk to my students.

I’m going to read books with characters that don’t look like me.

I’m going to read books that make me a better person (husband, father, leader).

I’m going to read books that make me a better teacher.

I”m going to stop feeling sorry for myself because of all the books I can’t read, and focusing my energy on all the book that I can read. 

PS-I started reading Because Of Mr. Terupt a few days ago. I’m a little more than half done. It is shaping up to be one of the best books that I have ever read. 

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9 thoughts on “Who Am I Reading For?

  1. Cynthia Voight’s The Tillerman family Saga. Worth your time, but long. She writes a number of “side-quels” which are excellent. Start with Homecoming, Dicey’s Song (Newberry), Come A Stranger, ASolitary Blue, Sons from Afar, Seventeen Against the dealer. You will fall in love with these characters. Do you know How to Read a Book in an Hour? Divide each chapter among kids. Read, meet, summarize, report back to grouo. I modified and used a little. Benefit is you can whet appetites for longer books, but you can’t obviously give away the ending. But you might hook some kids to try. All Voight books appeal to stronger readers. Also True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. A book for stronger readers. Maybe I read it aloud, can’t recall. Lowry’s Number the Stars. Did a nice project. Read to preschoolers at library story time in nearby public library. Mentor Text was When I was Young in the Mountains. Wrote and used water color and ink for images. (Maybe allowed colored pencils) and their work was beautiful. I loved 5th grade. Bridge to Terabithia was anither. Works that touched them, in a way I’d say honored their growing sense of how to be in the world. 100 Dresses. An important book.
    The Rag Coat, too.
    Janet Clare F.

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    1. Nice project refers to Young in the Mountains.

      Used Number the stars ( after much prep work) to get kids to annotate as they read. I have a whole system for that. Adored Reading Between the Lines by Lucy Calkins for writers notebooks. It was great when I could use those. Also DEJ. Double Entry Journals. Those were great with 5th graders. I modeled a lot before they used them. May have read source listed in Atwell’s 1st edition of In the Middle. My early bible for literacy. So much to read, so little time. I taught gr 5 from my 4th to my 28th year in teaching. I became a strong teacher by the last year then 13 more in gr 3. I would be happy to help if you ever had a question, but I know you are widely connected. I sat with you at the Don Graves breakfast in Boston, NCTE.

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  2. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Avi
    Hatchet Gary Paulson
    First Test Tamora Pierce (series)
    Maniac Magee Jerry Spinelli
    Bone
    Inkheart Cornelia Funk
    Redwall Brian Jacques
    These are older titles, but will engage readers. Have fun with your new adventure!

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  3. Check out the CYRM (California Young Readers Medal ) website, past & present. The winners in each category are chosen by students. Recently, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library won in the intermediate category and Each Kindness in the Picture Books for Older Readers.

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  4. None of these comments so far relate to the points you made in this post. I found them to be extremely important and valuable. I think we all need to think about “Who we are reading for?” and place ourselves somewhere very close to the top of our answer to that question. Because of Mr. Terupt is a book from years ago that I read and one that stuck with me. Talk about an example of one excellent teacher and his relationship with students and beliefs about teaching. I am so glad you found your way to this book because of your personal response to it. We are bombarded with quantity and also quality. How special it is when we read a book that really speaks to us personally. There is a sequel, but I haven’t yet read it. I think I’ll move it to the top of my TBR! Thanks for writing bout this.

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    1. I completely agree! I’ve been so down on myself because of lack of time (college student again) that when I do have time to read for me, I want it to be meaningful & fun. Narrowing down my reads to just what my students could/would/should read (K-4) has made me feel like I’m missing out on some of my friends’ favorites. So I’ve been more purposeful about my reading too…
      so for now…
      Adult/YA/Bettering myself kind of books-commute audiobooks
      Latest & greatest picture books-Sunday mornings
      This summer will be spent catching up on MG between classes.

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  5. Colby, I barely have time to read fiction anymore (and typing that killed me, too!), so know that as much as you CAN’T read, you’re reading SO much and it’s WONderful! Life will never allow anyone enough time to read all the books we want to. It’s that common, sad, sorry fact, but the fact that we CAN read at all, that we know the joy of reading and it’s a passion to share that , is SUCH a great gift 😀 And now you’ve got me wanting to add BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT to my TBR! Oh, my…

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  6. I never feel like my TBR list gets any smaller… It just keeps getting longer and longer. But I completely agree, sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and read for yourself and that helps get me more excited to read things I feel like I *have* to read.

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