Wednesday, August 1, 2012

When Do You Let Students Abandon Books?

I don't often write about books I didn't like, but this book raised a question for me as a teacher that I thought was worth a post: When do you let students abandon books?

Let me start by saying that I usually enjoy Shannon Hale's work.  I own several of her books in my classroom library and encourage my students to read them.  Rapunzel's Revenge is a fractured fairy tale and graphic novel set in the Old West.  Rapunzel becomes an out-law and teams up with a man with the goose that lay gold eggs.  Mother Gothel is the oppressive villain.

I didn't connect with the characters, the setting or the format of the book.  I don't have a problem with graphic novels -- an issue I plan to address later on this blog.  I found myself reading it because it was on my list.  It's a book I plan to allow in my classroom, but I don't know that I would recommend it.

I started thinking more about when to stop reading a book.  I can afford to abandon books.  I read about a book a week or so.   It's like when I don't prefer Brussels sprouts; there are plenty of other vegetables I will eat. 

I have a difficult time letting students abandon books when they never finish a book, just as I keep trying to introduce vegetables to promote healthy eating. I keep asking them to try a bite.  "Read the first chapter and come talk to me."  Eventually I hope they find an author and genre that will hook them.

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  1. I do a reading interest survey at the beginning of the year. If they're having a tough time finishing a book, we get out the reading survey and try to find books online in the school library that match their interest. They need to read at least one full book a month, so sometimes it's really about how close to the end of the month it is :)

    1. I should try the reading interest survey this year. I usually assign short book reports to make sure my students are finishing a book every 4-6 weeks or so.


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