Tag Archives: classics

#FridayReads: 14 Titles My Students Always Re-Read

NCLast week, Dylan looked at me with utter dismay when I told him that I still didn’t have the third book in the Maze Runner series.  Then, he brightened.  “I was actually kind of confused about some things that happened in The Scorch Trials.  Can I re-read it while I’m waiting for the third book to get returned?”

“Of course,” I agreed.  Musing, I jotted down some titles in my notebook that I wanted to re-read–my usual favorites, of course, but also books I’d only read once and had just loved–The Night Circus, Station Eleven, Zeitoun.  It made me wonder about what other books students wanted to re-read, so this past week, I asked them about it during conferences.  Lots of titles emerged, and I soon saw a pattern emerge–there were four reasons why they wanted to read particular books again and again.

HPSeries.  It quickly became apparent that if a new book in a series was coming out, re-reads were necessary.  “I’ve read the whole Harry Potter series three or four times,” Ryan told me.  “I understood all the hidden references and more about the characters the second and third times.”  Olivia agreed: “Those books are so complex there’s no way to understand everything in them the first time you read them.”

Anna read the whole Percy Jackson series twice “because I was in middle school and the struggle was real in finding books I enjoyed.  So I just re-read ones I knew I enjoyed!”

Shailyn read the Twilight series twice, and is reading it again now for the third time since the 10th anniversary editions were just released.  “I just loved the story,” she said.

Books that were being made into movies.  Mylana was adamant about this category: “I had to re-read Paper Towns really quick before the movie came out so I could tear it apart with how it didn’t compare to the book.”

Kaylee laughed and agreed: “I re-read The Fault in Our Stars for the same reason!!”

EPReally gripping stories.  “American Sniper was tough to re-read, but I did, because the story was so powerful.  I just wanted to experience it again,” Ryan said.

Eleanor and Park was the most beautiful love story I’ve ever read,” Olivia said, “so I’ve read it three times!”

“I re-read All the Bright Places, because it was probably the best book I’ve ever read,” Shailyn said.

“I read The Giver and The Help twice because I wanted to pay more attention to the moral story line and internal struggle in all of us that was portrayed so candidly in those books,” Anna said.

AFBooks they were assigned in school.  Mockingbird was popular in this category: “I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird numerous times because it’s my favorite, it’s a classic, and because I discover new details about the trial and Boo and Atticus each time I re-read it,” Olivia said decisively.

“I re-read The Diary of Anne Frank because I read it first as an assignment, but then re-read for fun because I wanted to think more about her time period vs. ours,” Mylana said.

“I had to re-read The Book Thief after it was assigned to me because I just wanted to focus on the storytelling the second time through,” Jonathan agreed.

What titles do your students (and you) love to re-read?  Share in the comments!

Reel Reading for Real Readers: Pride and Prejudice

20130207-190708.jpgSome of my colleagues might think I am anti-classics, but this is assuredly not so. I just hate how we commit what Kelly Gallagher calls Readicide by reading them to death in English classes. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all time favorite:  book and movie. The characters speak to me, and I’d know them on the street; I’ve read of them so many times. I even fantasize about living in turn of the century rural England. Well, maybe not fantasize, but I would like to travel to the English countryside someday.

Official Movie Trailer:  Pride and Prejudice

I want students to read this book. I do not want them to hate it. Therefore, I will talk it up. Quote some characters, show them this movie trailer, and offer a bribe or two if I have to: “I’ll bake you tiny cakes and bring you tea.” Whatever.

“My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” — Darcy, Pride and Prejudice

Do you remember that scene in You Got Mail? Meg Ryan’s character has praised Elizabeth Bennett and in subtle ways thrown down the challenge to Tom Hank’s character to read the book. He tries. For her. It’s the sweetest thing ever.

My daughters and I love all things Jane Austen. When the movie Becoming Jane came out, we were on a girls’ trip in Florida where the drivers love their horns, and we shook hands with a young man named Mr. Stubbs who was missing half a finger. The four of us walked into the movie theater, and we waltzed out humming the score and discussing literature. This mother’s perfect evening, surrounded by loving daughters who talk about books.

I’m all about building relationships with my students. By sharing my love of Pride and Prejudice with them– and why I love it, they will see a glimpse into me. The me outside the English class. The me who loves being a mom. Who goes to the movies. Who takes her girls to Florida on vacation. Who finds irony in people’s names.

If my students know me, I have a better chance of knowing them. Books and literature are so much more than reading material.

So, let’s play a bit here. What’s your favorite CLASSIC text, and why?

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