Saturday, February 9, 2013

Help me find a book, please?

I have a middle school student who came to me about trying to find her "just the right book". She doesn't like to read, but knows she needs to read. So far, she's sampled several books I have recommended, but brings them each back after a few days. I appreciate that she doesn't hold on to one and pretend to read it, as so many middle school students do.

This student says it is difficult for her to see pictures in her head and hear the voices of characters (what I call 'making a movie in your mind'). She feels that if a fiction story could center around a girl who plays soccer, she could more easily picture the sights and sounds of the book. She plays soccer and loves sports. This is not a girl who sits inside and watches television or plays PSP.

I have been searching, but I thought I'd reach out farther than my own little corner of the world. If you know of a good book that might work for this young lady, would you let me know? I don't know how the commenting works on this blog, to be honest. I'm still too new at this. If you'd like to comment and respond to my plea, please do so.

Thanks! :)


  1. I love a lot of books that are written for "youth." However, I haven't really read any that are sports related. I will ask Dillion if he has any recommendations. I know that we both LOVED the Hunger Games series. It is an active book series. I was resistant to the series at first, but quickly joined the bandwagon. ;) Still, have NOT watched the movie.

    1. Ah, Laura, you are a woman after my own heart! I enjoyed the Hunger Games series, too, and did not watch the movie until very recently...and, then, only half-heartedly. I find it very interesting that the very thing the book is exactly what the public has done with the book. It's a fad, something to do, cheap movie products flying off the shelf everywhere. I'm sure if there was a reality series that was the same as the one in the book (teenagers out to kill each other), it would be the highest rated show on TV. (Sigh) There is a much deeper level to those books than most young adults see and understand. I feel the same way about The Giver, a book all the 7th graders read. It should...disturb them...but it doesn't. It should make them really think about society, where it's been, and where it's headed...but it doesn't. It's a real shame, too.

  2. The Giver is a wonderful book. I agree it should make students think. Well, actually, it should invoke thought in all people of all ages. I don't think it was on Dillion's 7th grade list at Willkie, because I was telling him a few months ago that he needed to read it. Do you know I was shocked that his 4th grade class read Wuthering Heights? It was just beyond me that that book would be able to be understood at a 4th grade level. I am not teaching yet, but all of my preparation classes give me the perception that teaching is slowly evolving to focus on student's ability to think, critique, and analyze. I hope this is the case. I know it wasn't a focus while I was in school. It was all about regurgitation then.

  3. Students really need both. There are some things you just NEED to memorize and retain for future use. Students also need to think on a deeper level and, yes, critique and analyze. I continue to be amazed at what simple things students don't know. I can't believe how many children get to sixth grade and don't have their times tables memorized, for example. My gosh, I hate to do math, but I'll be the first person to say: YOU NEED TO MEMORIZE YOUR MULTIPLICATION TABLES!! It makes math (and the rest of your life) SOOOO much easier! Here's another example, I'm a good speller because of all the rules my teachers had me memorize. I can also recite the preamble to the Constitution (something I'm quite glad of) and know how to construct a sentence properly (most of the time) thanks to songs I memorized as a child from SchoolHouse Rock that I can still sing to myself! In college, my professor taught me the quadratic equation to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel" - genius! Like I said, students need to learn metacognition - to think about what they're thinking - and they need to know HOW they learn best. They need to learn things to mastery and not memorize for a moment to forget two days later (as soon as they've taken a test). Vocabulary should be introduced and used on a regular basis in the classrooms so it becomes a part of their life, not just a part of a vocab test. (Oh, goodness, I've gotten on my teacher-preacher stand! Sorry about that! It happens some times...) Enough said. :) Btw, Wuthering Heights in 4th grade? Really? Well, I did love Jane Eyre at a young age. Of course, I didn't read the actual book. I just knew a children's version of the story.

  4. I saw your "Show N Tell" post right after I had posted about Wuthering Heights! :) I was like, hmmmmm? Haha. I agree with everything you have said. One thing that I can say, is that literacy is a huge focus in my pre-teacher courses. I have 1-2 reading courses every semester up until I graduate. I believe that is amazing, because they are understanding that not all children are functionally literate in middle school. There is an emphasis to teach literacy skills in content area subjects. Alright, I will definitely have to to call you to set up a lunch sometime soon! ;)