Tag Archives: reel reading

Reel Reading for Real Readers

ReelReading2For about two years now I’ve posted book trailers, author interviews, and a few other online resources (like the amazing Pinterest boards for The Goldfinch and Alice Bliss) as a way to help guide my students into the world of reading.

I’ve found there are two prime ways that students get interested in a book.

1. I have to love it. If I read a short passage and share my experience while reading a certain book, and students see how it made me think or made me feel, without question, at least one student asks immediately to check it out from my classroom library. Usually there’s a waiting list.

2. I have to help them “see” the book. If I show books trailers, even movie trailers, and help students visualize the story line or the characters or the action, even my struggling readers are more likely to at least give a book a try. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

I have had great success in developing readers this year, especially this year. Maybe I finally figured out how my personal passion for books can work to accelerate student interest in books. More likely it’s the time I allowed for my teens to explore the bookshelves, talk to each other about what they are reading, and the time I gave them to read. Every. Day.

My students will evaluate their reading lives next week as the last task I ask of them. They will interview each other and think about our growth as readers. I know that talking about books, showing book trailers, (and investing a lot of time and money in a phenomenal classroom library) is why I am going to smile all the while as I read their evaluations.

Reel Reading post will take a break this summer.

I’d love to hear of your successes with students and reading this year.

Reel Reading for Real Readers: Going Bovine

ReelReading2There’s something about the cover that bothers me. Maybe I just don’t get it.

But as I pulled this book from the box of new ones, a student reached for it eagerly.

“Please read that book and tell me what all the fuss is about,” I said.

And off she went.

Here’s a cool trailer for Libba Bray’s Going Bovine.

Have you read it? What’s the deal with the cover?

Reel Reading for Real Readers: The Goldfinch

ReelReading2This is by far the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time. Check out this Pinterest board with all the art mentioned in the new Pulitzer Prize winning book The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

Oh, my lovely!

Art in the Goldfinch

I tried an audio book for the first time, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to “read” this way. Maybe it’s this book. I don’t know, but the descriptions fascinate me. Maybe that’s why the artwork posted on this Pinterest board fascinates me so.

I love this novel, and I cannot wait to share it with students. At one point the narrator even refers to his AP English class. I have some students who will love this book as much as I do.

I cannot wait for us to talk about it — oh, and all this art!

Reel Reading for Real Readers: Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl

ReelReading2My students and I got to participate in World Book Night April 23. The book we gave away was Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. (I will write about that soon.)

This trailer gives a pretty good idea of why this book is so great:

I have several students reading it now. There’s not much better than students clamoring for the books you talk about at the beginning of class.

Reel Reading for Real Readers–Transatlantic by Colum McCann

ReelReading2One of my favorite books is Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann. This book altered my thinking more than any single book I’ve read before or after. I am grateful for the insights this book gave me. I am a better person because of it.

When I saw Transatlantic, I knew that it belonged in my library.

This clip gives us a glimpse into the author’s thinking, and he reads a bit of the story.

(Oh, and I LOVE his chair.)

Reel Reading for Real Readers–The Orphan Master’s Son

ReelReading2My AP English students are in the middle of an end-of-year book project. In groups of three, they chose a book from the Pulitzer Prize or the Man-Booker Prize lists. They are reading and discussing these books and trying to determine what makes them award winners. They will create most of the parts of an AP English exam, based on the books they’ve read and discussed together.

Students are reading and discussing these complex, rich texts–literature at the top of the literary food chain. There are few things that make me more excited.

Here’s a glimpse into one of the books students chose for this project:

Reel Reading for Real Readers: The Road

ReelReading2My AP Language students are in the middle of this big book project. I had them choose an award winning book from the Pulitzer or the Man-Book Prize lists. They are reading and discussing these books in small groups. Then they will create an AP exam using passages from their books–we are working on thinking like test writers.  I told them when they were selecting titles that if the book had been made into a movie they had to include a film study into their project and teach class for a day.

One group chose to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I look forward to their analysis of this movie.

Reel Reading for Real Readers: Here There Be Dragons

ReelReading2A while back I had a problem. I had finally succeeded in getting some of my resistant sophomore boys to read. But they were stuck in the Ranger’s Apprentice series. Now, it’s not that I have a problem with those books. No, I love those stories– mostly because many boys who will not read another thing will read them, but. . . we are talking pre-AP 10th graders here. I knew I needed to get them moving up the ladder of complexity — at least a little bit.

I called on my PLN and tweeted out a plea for suggestions. The Chronicles of Imaginarium Geographica series lit up my screen.

Okay then.

I have no idea if this series is really more complex; I don’t care. If nothing else, my students have more choice.

Here There are Dragons by James A. Owen is the newest book for the fantasy shelf in my classroom library. I hope it never gets to sit there. Books are much more useful in a child’s hands.

This is a student-made trailer. I love that the description on Youtube says,

“This is the trailer for the best book I have ever read.”

Reel Reading for Real Readers: Twelve Mighty Orphans by Jim Dent

ReelReading2I am not sure how the book Twelve Mighty Orphans walked into my house, but it fit right in. All four of my sons played Texas football, and for many years we lived at one football stadium or another. One year we attended three games a week with three sons on two different middle school teams, and our oldest son playing on varsity at the high school. It was either that year or the next that Tanner’s team won the state championship. It’s all a blur of blue and white.

Everything you have heard about Texas football is true. It’s big, and it consumes your life.

Maybe that’s why this book by Jim Dent had such a voice at my house. My husband read it. My sons read it. How could I not?

Not much compares to talking with your teenage athlete sons about a book.

This non-fiction book chronicles the efforts of one man to make a difference in the lives of orphan boys. He teaches them to play football, but he teaches them much more than that. This trailer introduces the storyline with beautiful images:


Reel Reading for Real Readers: Panic by Lauren Oliver

ReelReading2Many of my female students love her Delirium series, and I am happy to say that maybe even some of my guys will take on Panic, Lauren Oliver’s newest title.

The topic is FEAR.

I haven’t read very far, but I have read enough to know I like this narrative voice. I especially like that I can share it with my students by using this video where Lauren Oliver reads them the first chapter.

Cannot get any cooler than that.

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