I work with middle school students, which is just as thrilling and crazy as you may imagine. My classes are made up of kids who are identified as reading below grade level. Many of them have recently exited an ELD program and lack some fluency and vocabulary that native language speakers would have; others have just never developed a passion for reading. That's where I come in!
The best part of my job is seeing kids get excited about a book, especially kids who thought they hated reading.
I've worked hard to develop a classroom library that reflects my student population, including lots of books about Latinx and other kids of color, kids who are differently abled, kids from a range of social, economic, and religious backgrounds, GLBQT kids, immigrants and refugees, etc. My students also love reading humor, graphic novels, thrillers, and books that have been made into TV shows and movies. All kids deserve to find books they can connect to.
Book clubs are a great way to support students' development as readers and community members. By reading and discussing in small groups, they build confidence, stamina, insight, and empathy. True choice is needed for buy-in, though!
Options ranging from historical fiction to fantasy, from graphic novels to nonfiction, from humorous to wrenched-from-the-headlines ensure that every small group can find a book to dig into and explore deeply.
Many of these titles will bring the outside world into our classroom and get the students thinking about how they want to live in our society. These books will build students' understanding of the interplay between world issues and personal struggles. They will also suck students in with great storytelling and beautiful writing.
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