"Thank you, thank you, Mrs. Tervel, for choosing an interesting book for us to read. Usually in school, we read boring books. I actually read this entire book."
I wanted to cry because that's what all of us English teachers hope for: positive words that show they loved the book or the book touched them.
She was a freshman honors student who showed me through those words that honors students need to be pushed and motivated to read just as much as any other student.
One of my sophomore boys who struggled all year with keeping up with his assignments and sporadic attendance surprised me one day and said he read ahead of the assignment. "I was so interested in this chapter on Olivia. I know what she was going through. I was a foster child, too." Those words pierced my heart. As much as we prod and question our kids, we don't know everything about them. These were the words he spoke in front of his classmates.
My students--my kids--always show me hope in some way. I may have to work harder with some, but always, always they will show me their heart in some small way.
It's no secret that students just do not want to read. In fact, in our country the senior level Advanced Placement Literature test just released their scores. For the second year in a row, the scores have dropped. Only "47% had a 3 or higher." This continuous drop is showing us teachers of lower grades one thing: students are not reading. They are bored. They lack stamina. Simply put: they hate reading. So where do I begin?
As a teacher at the starting line, I'm here to motivate, encourage, and cheer on my students to become lifelong readers.
I need to make reading relevant for them using a fresh new approach: using books that will engage them and keep their interest. I want to incorporate mini book clubs in class for kids to discuss these stories with each other. I want them to grow through my personal nudging into novels they never thought they'd read. I want to connect ideas with books they're interested in what is happening in our world. I want them to become excited with their novels and want to explore more.
Titles such as "All American Boys" in which a young African American boy questions his identity, or "Henrietta Lacks" whose cells have helped create the polio vaccine, but yet her family is on welfare, or Kwame Alexander novels whose words float off the page and mesmerize even the most reluctant reader, or even John Green novels (the modern John Hughes of teens) who help teens find their identity are all stories that can change the apathy towards reading.
Literacy is a growing problem in our country. I just want to be at the finish line celebrating their realization of how "reading is the oxygen that has made them and will make them successful!"
If you donated to this project, you can sign in to leave a comment for Mrs. Tervel.
DonorsChoose is the #1 classroom funding site for teachers.
As a teacher-founded nonprofit, we're trusted by thousands of teachers and supporters across the country. This classroom request for funding was created by Mrs. Tervel and reviewed by the DonorsChoose team.
DonorsChoose makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. Public school teachers from every corner of America create classroom project requests, and you can give any amount to the project that inspires you.