Friday, October 23, 2009

end of the week

Wrapping up my posts on Teen Read Week...

In the classes that I teach, I always encourage kids to bring in whatever they are reading, or their favorite books, and read aloud to the class during Teen Read Week. I give them candy for doing it, but the thing that's always struck me is how eager teens are to read aloud to their friends when the book is something that they've chosen to read for themselves.

Usually, the exact opposite is true when teachers ask kids to read aloud from textbooks, or from required works of fiction, no matter how good those works may be.

I also allow kids to read whatever they want, no restrictions on content, language, or ideas. One of these days, I am sure, it will land me in some serious trouble... and I don't consider myself a martyr by a long shot, so we'll just deal with that when it happens, I guess.

Here's a list of what some of my kids chose to read to their classmates to honor Teen Read Week, 2009:

Paige chose to read page 88 from John Green's Looking for Alaska. She's memorized that page because it contains a most brilliant line: "...if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane."

Garrett brought in his copy of Atonement, by Ian McEwan, and read his favorite passage.

Corey read from Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto. Come and get me, teabaggers. The kid really, genuinely likes reading Marx. What can I say? He did a great job.

Eric read from Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, and I was, like, wow... I didn't think kids read stuff like this anymore.

Suzy read an exciting passage from Scott Westerfeld's Pretties.

Wes read the opening pages to Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

And all the kids bugged me until I read some pages from in the path of falling objects, and I talked about the story and why I'd written it. Then I book-talked and read from two books that the kids had never heard of (yet), but I think are amazing gifts to readers: David Small's Stitches, and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

It's been a terrific week.