"A quote that always encapsulated my love of reading and literature is C.S. Lewis: "We read to know we are not alone," yet the more statistics I read about the lack of adults who read at all--especially poetry--leaves me feeling our nation is in danger of isolation through a lack of literature.
I teach ninth grade English in a rural community where many of my students are struggling and reluctant readers.
Many who come to my classroom hate reading and may have never read a book for enjoyment. Our students have difficulties in their home life that further disconnect them from school and overwhelm them. In today's high-stakes testing environment, many students are learning the base skills but are not developing a love of reading, creating what Kelly Gallagher coined as "readicide." These students are not finding meaningful engagement in the classroom and do not see the connection between school and their lives at home, prompting many to drop out and never realize their potential for higher education through a technical school or four-year university.
To instill a love of reading in my students while teaching in my classroom, I would like to purchase a class set of The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur. The book contains young adult poems that are passionate and inspiring. They deal with real issues like race, poverty, drug use, and self esteem--without being graphic or explicit. I know my students will find these poems to be inspirational and compelling; I know they will feel they are reading something they can identify with and relate to--and I know it because I had a waiting list for the two copies in my classroom library last year. With these books my students and I can read and analyze his poems together, talk about the meaning they hold for us, and compare his poetry to great classic poets who wrote about related themes, such as Dylan Thomas. As a final project, I will have students bring in song lyrics of their own and analyze them so that they realize the meaning behind the words close to their hearts.
Reading Tupac will show my students that great writers do live in the same world and deal with the same issues.
Because they will be engaged, they will be more likely to come to school, stay in school, and prepare for college. I hope these poems will also show my students the power of words, especially to speak out about social issues. I want my students to know that they too have a voice that needs to be heard, and writing can help them speak out about the issues they care about most.Read More
|The Rose That Grew from Concrete Tupac Shakur, Foreword by N • AKJ Books||$17.12||30||$513.60|
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