#FridayReads: Investments, Books, and the Need to Read

I am addicted to books. No question. I am a bibliophile.

And I am proud of it.

I have this not-so-secret hope that my students will be bibliophiles, too. I work very hard to make them so.

This year I’ve had a bit of trouble getting students to read. Okay, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting students to read. It’s been the hardest year for me in the years since I turned to a workshop and choice pedagogy.

I am at fault for not conferring enough, not talking about books enough, not introducing enough books that I know my students will love.  I’ve reflected enough on my practice to get that.

Finally, the light dawned:  Get them investing in the books, not just invested in the reading. But get students making the choices about what books I need in my classroom library.

Fortunately, I’ve been blessed with some kind grant benefactors and have some money to invest in books. (Shana is an expert at grant writing, and I’ve highlighted her post in the past. I do it again here.) It takes some time to write grant proposals, and then once awarded, it takes some time completing books orders — I should have done all this sooner in the year.

In class this week, I gave students an assignment:

  • Search and find a book about social issues you want to read with at least one other person in class. (I’m working on getting multiples of great titles in my classroom library.)
  • Find an award-winning book, or at least a book written by an award-winning author. (At NCTE Penny Kittle said something like “…the more you read of the best literature, the more you’ll recognize it.) I know this is true. Students begin to see it too when they read books that reflect rich and meaningful author’s craft.

So, today for #FridayReads I share with you the list of books my students came up with. I’m pretty sure they will be fantastic reads.

The Martian Andy Weir
Everything I Never Told You Celeste Ng
Challenger Deep Neal Shusterman
Love and Other Ways of Dying Michael Paterniti
Did You Ever Have a Familly Bill Clegg
Fate and Furies Lauren Groff
All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doer
The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
The Road of Lost Innocence Somaly Mam
Between the World and Me Ta-Nehisi Coates
Inside a Hollow Tree Kevin White
Behind the Beautiful Forevers Katherine Boo
Symphony for the City of the Dead M.T. Anderson
A Little Life Hanya Yanagilhara
Refund: Stories Karen E. Bender
Sickened: the True Story of a Lost Childhood Julie Gregory
The Invisible Girls Sarah Thebarge
Pretty Little Killers Daleen Berry
Columbine Dave Cullen
Redeployment Phil Klay
My Story Elizabeth Smart
Hope: A Memoir of Survival in Cleveland Amanda Berry

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6 thoughts on “#FridayReads: Investments, Books, and the Need to Read

  1. […] written a few times already this year about how I still have non-readers. I mentioned it in my #FridayReads post last week. I’ve found the two major reasons my students tell me they do not want to read: 1. […]


  2. Pat Delzell December 11, 2015 at 7:56 pm Reply

    A wonderful list! I just started reading “The Gift of Fear” with my 10th-grade female student. So far, so good!


    • Amy December 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm Reply

      The Gift of Fear is on my personal list. My husband’s reading it and sharing juicy bits. Sounds like an important book. Best wishes to you and your student!


  3. cmadeleine0816 December 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm Reply

    I looooooooooooove All the Light You Cannot See. I’m convincing everyone this year to read it. On a sadder note, I walked into my school library today and there were three carts of books (very full carts) with giant “X’s” on the call number and I ask, “what’s wrong with these?” The reply, “oh they are being discarded. No one reads them.” I rush over and grab one that looks familiar – published in 2011 – a fairly popular title too. Excuse me? Needless to say I was offered a box and it was overflowing as I trekked through the halls back to my room with my free books. Happy Christmas and happy #FridayReads!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy December 13, 2015 at 3:59 pm Reply

      Way to advocate for yourself and your students by grabbing that box of books. Sometimes I wonder what happens in a library to help students want to read the books that never get checked out. I am not placing blame. I really don’t know. I just wonder if there could be more than sitting books out on shelves and making posters for the walls. That seems to be the norm.

      Liked by 1 person

      • cmadeleine0816 December 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm Reply

        Maybe adults reading in the library? Tasty coffee and chocolate goodies? Scones? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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