In March, I posted the titles of books read independently by my students, most of whom are self-proclaimed non-readers and lag behind their peers in grades and standardized testing. I wanted to do a follow-up to give credit to my students, some in particular who became….readers!!, and to the authors who wrote books that engaged these teens.
During the school year, we read three novels together: 13 REASONS WHY by Jay Asher, THE WAVE by Todd Strasser, and THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins. After reading THE HUNGER GAMES, we went to see the movie as a class. Some of my students had not yet been on a field trip in high school. In the lower grades, all students go on the outings. In high school, special trips are linked to certain classes, clubs, or sports. Some of my students are members of sports teams and clubs, but many of them are not. So, it was nice that they were able to have a field trip all for themselves. It was especially nice that it revolved around the most talked about young adult novel of the year. They were now able to take part in the literary conversation. (Pause as I shed a teacher tear of joy.)
On the independent reading front, some students took off. Using their “Lexile” scores, we were able to find books that matched their reading level. Not every student turned the reading corner. A couple of students still struggled to complete a novel, even with more appropriate choices and time to read. Others, though, were on fire in the best possible way! In general, students read more. Each time a student finished a book, I made a copy of the cover and pinned it to the wall.
Here is a picture of my wall when we first started:
Here is a picture of the wall in March:
And…drum roll please…here is the wall at the end of June.
Keep in mind that some of these books were read by several students. For example, many of my girls blazed through the PERFECT CHEMISTRY series by Simone Elkeles. Each book cover is on the wall one time, and I added the students’ names to the colored border. So, really, you can probably double the number that’s on the wall. (Pause as I shed another teacher tear of joy).
Found through Creative Commons
…big applause for a certain student and certain authors.
I have one student who makes me want to shed buckets of teacher tears. She had NEVER read independently as a habit. By the end of this year, she often asked to come to my classroom during her study hall because she wanted to read and it was too loud in study hall. When she took a trip to New York City, she was upset that she had forgotten to bring her book to read on the bus. She normally carries a book in her bag all the time now. Once, she came to talk to me during a time she thought was free for me. I had a class. They were reading their independent books. She popped her head in and said, “Oh, sorry. I’ll come back later. I don’t want to interrupt your reading time.”
The two authors who turned her on to reading were Simone Elkelesand Ni-Ni Simone. To them, I say:
Found through Creative Commons
This student read the PERFECT CHEMISTRY series and the PARADISE books and then recommended them to her friends. She then searched for something similar and discovered Ni-Ni Simone. She read all of the titles we have in our school library before the end of the school year. In total, she read 14 books, not counting what she had to read for her classes. And, guess what, when I assessed her reading levels at the end of the year, her scores had improved on every test.
Thank you to all of the authors who wrote books that engaged my students. Parents or teachers who have children or students who are avid readers might take this for granted. When I see a student who doesn’t normally read actually finish a book or two or 14!, it’s nothing short of awesome. So, thank you! Here is the list of books read by my students this year:
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Wave by Todd Strasser
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
Full Tilt by Neal Shusterman
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman
Skeleton Creek: The Crossbones by Patrick Carman
Skeleton Creek: The Raven by Patrick Carman
Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
Haters by Alisa Valdes
Perfect by Ellen Hopkins
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
The Lost Boy by Dave Pelzer
Fat Vampire by Adam Rex
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Point Break by Anthony Horowitz
Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz
Empty by Suzanne Weyn
Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
Chasing Romeo by A.J. Byrd
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Rules of Attraction
Return to Paradise
If I Was Your Girl
Teenage Love Affair
Shortie Like Mine
A Girl Like Me