Jun 12, 2007

read, dammit

I taught one of the coolest classes ever this trimester. When I say "taught," I mean "managed," because it involved just about zero in the way of traditional teaching. Called "Senior Reading," it's a class where students read. All class. All trimester, just about.

It rocked.

My job, mostly, was to keep track of students' reading through intermittent written responses, book talks, and their reading logs, and to circulate through the class as students tried to stay awake at 8:00 in the morning. ("Take a lap around the pod," I'd say, tapping a snoozer on the shoulder. "No, no," they'd always say, a little embarrassed. "I'm okay.") Today, students shared for a minute or two about the experience. Some of their thoughts:
All through school, I never read anything. I just sparknoted whatever books were assigned. This tri I actually read everything.

I hated to read before taking this class. I still don't like it, but at least I can imagine the characters more now. I can read faster, too.

I'm a slower reader, now, but I pay more attention when I read, and remember the story better.

I never imagined that novels could seem so true, so real, before reading some of the books Mr. A. recommended.

I expanded my genres beyond fiction and action/adventure.

It's nice to have a class where all you do is something you enjoy.

At home, I'd be reading a book, and my mom would walk by and say, "What?!" I never used to read at all.

I could set goals and push myself to read twice as much as before.

I'll want to read more after this, even if I don't become an "avid reader."

Before, I just read stories. Now I can get the deeper meaning.
Our sharing time started to take on the flavor of an A.A. meeting--students waxed ecstatic about their mental transformations, all from just applying themselves during our daily Sacred Reading Time.

The literati are always lamenting our culture's dearth of reading, whatever the reason--the mad rush of time, the wiles of the Wii, or that smelly guy who ruins every book club.

One hour of reading, every day, for a couple months: this just might be the solution.

No comments: