Monday, March 2, 2015

Five ways to help students find the Sweet Read

Today is Read across America day. This morning I watched my son Oren (11) read right after he got up. He is rereading for the ??th time the Percy Jackson series. It made me think about a book or a series of books that becomes a second home to readers- a Sweet Read. It is about the power of returning to a favorite book where the charaters are like old friends that you have known for many years.

When I was Oren's age I had Asimov's Foundation series and later Lord of the Rings. For Erez (now 20) it was Harry Potter, Asaf (now 18) had David Edding's Belgariad. Even as adults I find that Sarah and I are returning to favorites and redefining what is our literary home.

This is an experiece I would like all students to have- a sweet read- that is yours. Here are a few completely unoriginal ideas to help students find the Sweet Read:

1. Read outloud to them. Reading outloud connects readers and listeners to the books in a way that helps new and struggling readers reimagine what the reading experience should be.
2. Provide choice. I learned the hard way that what you love and find a home in does not necessarily mean that others will as well. We all must figure it out for ourselves.
3. Do not judge. The Box Car Children can as much of a literary home as Boewolf. It is after all about comfort and joy.
4. Share you experiences. Share your passion for books, not so they can read the same books, but so they can feel the emotion and excitement in your voice.
5. Library often. (shouldn't library be a verb?)

Full disclosure: In the last five years or so my Sweet Reads are A Hundred Years of Solitude and Bitchfest.

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