Help Spread the Love of Reading!

“From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings.”—Helen Hayes

Books can challenge us to think, dream, empathize, and even face truths about ourselves. For teenagers, this is so important. As a former high school English teacher, I have experienced first-hand the power of a book when it encounters the adolescent mind. I remember one student I had—a “popular” student, a jock, and a boy who I don’t think had EVER actually read a book all the way through. He wasn’t the smartest kid and didn’t really put out much, if any, effort. He could be a real troublemaker when he wanted, as well. His parents had always stepped in for him, pressuring the teachers to pass him through, making excuses and giving him a reason not to try. (I even got offered a steak dinner from the dad—woo hoo!) But I had a copy of Friday Night Lights in my library at school. And I knew if this boy gave it a chance, he would like it. There was football. There were girls. Heck, there was even swearing! I will never forget when he came up to me and told me that he had taken the book home and was reading it—and that he actually liked it! And when the book (which I bought with my own money) never did return to the library, I didn’t even care. It made me happy to know that the boy had a book in his possession that he could relate to and that he would read. I still think of him whenever I see a copy of the book.

My friend at Emerald Love is a high school English teacher at my alma mater. It’s a small, rural community without a lot of money. The local factory has brought many Hispanic families to the town, which has really enriched it, but the families really struggle to get by and provide for their children. Please visit Emerald Love and read her post. She started a book club for students and had twice as many students show up as she had anticipated. What a wonderful problem to have! However, as a teacher, she cannot afford, and should not HAVE to purchase, books for everyone. The students cannot afford to purchase them, and our local library and school library are limited in their collections. If you have any of these titles that you would be willing to part with, would you consider donating them to this book club? Visit Emerald Love and send her an email and she will send you her address. Thank you! Even what seems like a small gesture on our part can make a HUGE impact on kids!

Here are the titles she needs:
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples
My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Dicey’s Song by Cynthia Voigt
At First Sight by Nicholas Sparks

3 thoughts on “Help Spread the Love of Reading!”

  1. I, too, have seen the power of reading. At the beginning of my career I taught a boy who was only interested in farming…saw no need to read and definately wasn’t interested..(this was 2nd grade). I got some farm implement literature…and this eventually morphed in to him reading “Farmer Boy”. I have even brought comics to school to see if I could light a fire under little bodies. But the best way to teach reading is by example. As an elem. teacher you get time to actually share wonderful books with your children. I found that the time I spent reading outloud to the children was my favorite part of the day. (Actually it was when I was a student also…WAY back in the OLD days) And it was a favorite of the children as well. Also I found that the reading of poetry (Shel Silverstein, Jack Preluctsky etc) really can sooth the savage beasts.
    AND reading to your kids is the most wonderful use of time..and created excellent memories.

  2. pjmom, I accidentally took a wrong turn in Bloggyville today and left a comment for you over at groovyteach’s blog. I really need to read my Bloggyville map a little more carefully!

    Anyway, thanks for sending me over there! It’s always great to hear there are still young people who love to read a genuine old-fashioned book.

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