How could I forget?
I just remembered I used to celebrate #FridayReads with my students. Every week, after independent reading time, we’d talk about our books, maybe tweet a selfie with them, maybe imitate a favorite sentence. It was probably a Friday when we wrote book reviews in the form of haikus. It was a Friday when we became literary critics. That one was epic.
This year we’ve been having Friday discussions. Reading, talking, listening. That’s worked well — we’ve explored many interesting and important issues — but I completely forgot about doing more with our books. Dang it.
No wonder my students are not reading as much as they have in the past.
I won’t play the What/If game, but it’s staring at me in with weary eyes.
This morning I read about the 2019 National Book Award winners, and while I haven’t read any of them, yet; I gulped at the beauty of these lines, shared by one of the winners as she spoke of her mother–
“As a child, I watched her every move, seeing her eyes fall upon every word everywhere — encountered in the grocery store, on a bus, pamphlets, the package labels, my high school textbooks. She was always wolfing down words, insatiable — which is how I learned the ways in which words were a kind of sustenance, could be a beautiful relief or a greatest assault.”
Words. A beautiful relief or a greatest assault.
On this Friday, I think we will start here. We’ll write in response to this idea: How are words both a relief or an assault?
Then, we’ll explore books — in anticipation, and hope, that just maybe one of my readers will fall in love with words.
Amy Rasmussen teaches senior English in a large high school in North Texas. She’s still working on building her classroom library to its former glory, and knows she needs to read more herself if she wants to get every student into a book they will love. Follow her on Twitter @amyrass