My students are a wonderful, intelligent and hard working group of young men and women who never cease to impress me.
Many of them came our school fleeing hardship.
Almost half the students are Haitian and came to Orlando following the earthquake that devastated the country in 2010. Most of the Hispanic students that make up the other 47.9% of the school were born in Puerto Rico and came here due to PR's economic crisis. As a result, you are just as likely to hear Spanish or Haitian Creole spoken in the hallways as English.
Although many of my students struggle with the language barrier, they embrace our creed and are committed to getting their reading levels up through daily independent reading.
The difference between success and struggle in high school, college and beyond is a student's reading level. Although numerous studies have shown that the best way to increase reading level is to simply read as much as possible, my district's curriculum focuses on dissecting short excerpts in an effort to improve students' analytical skills.
The only way for students to have meaningful, extended reading practice is to have them read at home; which means giving them books that they're excited to read on their own!
For this project, students were given the opportunity to browse for books on Amazon. After some discussion and debate, the students settled on a final list that most of them were interested in reading.
Included are critically acclaimed stories, additional books in series that they love like "Jedi Academy" and "Big Nate" and--what I'm most excited about--graphic novel adaptations of popular young adult series. The goal is that after they finish the graphic novels they'll want to find out what happens next, which will lead them to reading the actual novels.
Best of all, these are books they can't wait to read! They crave these books!
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