D. Reading Culture
One of my favorite parts of teaching is supporting student choice in reading and growing their love from books, especially when students are looking for drastically different reading experiences.
In 2017, I revamped the Reading Lounge dedicated to reading by organizing titles, making purchases, and selecting best-fit reads for students.
Department Reading List
In 2016, I also undertook the task to create a resource menu of all the books that were available to the Middle School's Language Arts department. The first step was to research all the book lists from years past and determine what resources existed physically and what resources were only written. The second step was to research what each grade level taught as a whole class text, small group text, or independent reading so we could vertically align our resources. Then, I determined genres, researched Lexiles, and wrote summaries for each book so we could all have a good idea of which books were good fits for our students. The result was creating a comprehensive department reading list.
I think it is important to record student reading in ways that encourages the pleasure of reading instead of making it a burden. Here is a daily chart for reading times that students use to record the time when they have been able to steal away with a book.
One of my passions is supporting works of literature from the cannon with thematically similar titles. That looks differently in different classes, but the goal is always building a culture of lifetime reading that inspires students. Middle Grades is especially a perfect time for students to participate in books clubs and embrace independent reading. For different students, independent reading can have many desired outcomes: entertainment, conversations with peers, or future conversations with college professors.
For Social Studies (G.7)
I have become passionate about a few of high-interest series that focus on entertaining students while teaching the about the past.
For Language Arts (G.7)
We are living in an explosion of young adult series, and many are responsible for inspiring a generation of readers. Here are some novels that I think would be good fits for capturing the attention of students.
For Literature (G.9)
When tackling a difficult work from the literary canon, it is helpful for high school students to reinforce those books by reading higher-interest books that have similar themes.