My students are in 7th grade Language Arts at a K-8 language immersion magnet school. It's a school with a kind of real-world diversity that really reflects the community we live in. One of the challenges of teaching reading in the Internet age is finding ways to foster a love of books in a generation that has an ever-shrinking attention span and relies more and more on electronic media for entertainment. I believe high-interest novels are the way to do that!
We do have quite a few students who enter my class seeing reading as a chore and only wanting to do it when forced to.
I always tell them that just means they haven't found the right books yet. I make it my mission to expose them to reading materials that they will connect with on a personal level or books that will activate their imagination so that they come to class wanting to read.
I am replacing well-loved copies of Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry since they have covers missing and pages falling out. Gathering Blue is the companion book to The Giver, a book many of these students read a couple of years ago, so the readers will be thrilled to have the opportunity to explore further. They will deal with themes of conformity and individualism, themes which are extremely relevant to middle school students. These books will also allow my students to increase their vocabularies as well as find ways to connect a fantasy/dystopian novel to the real world that we all live in.
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