The students I teach are energetic, eager and curious about the world that we live in. They come from families where both parents have to work , some of them two jobs. The families my students come from are not rich, nor are they middle class. They struggle financially. About 73% of our families are on free and reduced lunch.
My class understands that school and their education is their job, and they also understand that their parents came to America so they could have a better life.
When I look out at the faces of my students, I see a collection of cultures from all over the world: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Burma, Iraq, Pakistan, and India. They comprehend how important school and learning is because it creates a pathway to making a better life for their families.
Having books that students can disappear in is a teacher's dream. These two books can be life changing to 6th graders who need to read. Non fiction books are difficult "hooks" for 11 year olds , but A Long Walk to Water has an element that hooks students once and for all. It's the same for The One and Only Ivan, as it is great literature.
The reason students think reading is boring is only because they haven't found the right book.
Magic happens when students find the one; the one that makes a difference. It is a teacher's responsibility to expose children to excellent literature. This is an excellent start.
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