So we’re back to YA lit heroine and voice of student reading, Penny Kittle. I’m not entirely sure of what’s happening, but I’m pretty sure I’ve developed a girl crush on Ms. Kittle. Seriously, how many answers can one woman have to my deepest burning questions on advocating literacy and book love in the classroom?
Last time, she gave us beginning insight into what needs to happen in classrooms for students to be more engaged and involved in their literary lives. Now, some of these ideas are pretty tall orders for those of us who come from rural communities—independent reading as homework? You mean to say we DON’T load students with 16 page packets and assigned reading from dusty old books? Sounds like a good start to a letter of resignation for most teachers. And, if we do somehow manage to convince our superiors and colleagues of the effectiveness of these methods, how will we provide access to such books, especially in areas where massive YA collections are few and far between?
Chapters 3 and 4 provided the much needed how behind all of this. Strategies such as calculating pages per hour, weekly reading recording sheets, and *GASP* independent reading as homework really does pay off, it seems. One line I especially loved was Kittle’s firm stance on finding the time for all of this. “What I don’t accept is the excuse that they can’t find the time at all. They can. They do.” I would give anything to observe Kittle in action to see how she does all this; I’m a visual person, I need to see stuff done with my own eyes. It’s easy to read about how something is done, but to see it firsthand solidifies the knowledge.
In regards to access of books, Sarah Andersen really highlighted what needs to be done. Three words: donate, donate, DONATE! Asking students to donate titles, finding others who may have books to donate, or writing project proposals to acquire books can make building a classroom library affordable and doable. I would add that garage sales are another place to find a novel or two–and for a few cents, too. I’ve got no problem organizing or finding a checkout system that works; my biggest question was how to acquire books, and I’ve found my answer.
All in all, it’s been a healthy information haul this week between Kittle and Andersen. I’m feeling more empowered by every page I read, and I really do think I can make these ideas work.
Until next time, nerds and nerdettes.