Professional Development Opinion

Take Some Time for Reading

By AAEE — July 15, 2011 2 min read
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Every classroom teacher needs to read. Although many schools require teachers to adhere to prescribed curriculum, in many cases there is room for some teacher-selected literature. The classics are always a good choice; however, that does not mean teachers have to ignore popular fiction/non-fiction entirely. It is a good idea to have an understanding of what students are selecting on their own. I suggest you educate yourself by reading what your students are reading, so you can initiate conversations about or allude to characters and situations from their picks. Whether you have a job or not, and regardless of the grade level you prefer to teach, summer is a good time to read. Believe me, once you begin the school year, the time for reading diminishes at an alarming rate. So why not take advantage of the long summer days to cross a few books off your reading list?

I offer several suggestions based on what the children in my life are reading.

Ten-year-old Justin played on a successful Little League baseball team this spring. He has discovered the Mike Lupica sports books, and is currently reading The Big Field. The School Library Journal gave this praise, “Vivid descriptions of pivotal innings and plays, snappy dialogue, and realistic conflicts propel the characters and the story toward the state finals and a father-son breakthrough. Baseball fans will revel in Lupica’s exciting sports commentary and Hutch’s competitive spirit and emotional highs and lows.”

Fourteen-year-old Nikki is caught up in The Uglies, the first book in a trilogy by Scott Westerfeld. The Uglies is based on the premise that in a future world a compulsory operation at age sixteen that makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. Nikki and her friends share the books, quote lines and make references to the characters in their everyday conversations. Middle school English teacher M. Datrez wrote on Amazon, “I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy thinking about what our future will be like.” He plans to share the first chapter of The Uglies with his class and thinks it will be “great fodder for an intellectual discussion.”

Nikki was also eager to see the movie version of I am Number Four (Lorien Legacies) by Pittacus Lore which was last summer’s must-read. She re-read the book and we rented the movie. He final assessment was that the book was much better. We have pre-ordered The Power of Six which will be available in late August.

Carter and his friends have started reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan beginning with book one, The Lightning Thief. The series, which began in 2006, now has 5 books. The most recent was available in January 2011. The series gives Carter a whole summer of uninterrupted science fiction/fantasy.

For suggested book lists, visit www.ala.org (American Library Association) and search for the Newbery and Caldecott Award winners. The Children’s Literature Association of Utah sponsors The Beehive Book Awards. Find their winners and nominees at www.clau.org/.

Happy reading!

--Kathy Kinney

Career Center Director,

Dixie State College, St. George, UT

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