One of my favorite things going on in my classroom recently are my students reading responses. Stay with me, I promise this whole post isn’t all about teaching. In an effort to ignite some passion into my students’ reading and “writing about reading” lives, I’ve been doing a weekly reading response where students share their entries out loud with the rest of the class. Not only has it provided a real “audience” and given them motivation to write something they are proud to read, we’ve been asking questions like what goes into a good reading response? What invites a reader into your writing?
My 7th graders are basically all stars. Many of them have started their own reading blogs (heart!) and are growing in sophistication…which makes me scramble for new ways to teach into writing well. This has caused me to think about my own writing process for this blog, in an effort to coach into what writers can do. This is what I’ve found: (1) I reread all of my underlined notes and dog-eared pages, typing ones that seem weighty into a new post page. (2) I read the ongoing conversations about the book online to help me gain a context/find insight I may not have considered on my own. (3) I try to pull a thread from all of the above to focus on for my post…or, try to choose what might be the most important thread to pull.
The point of this post, is that there are often way too many threads. Sometimes I miss being an English major so much it hurts because all I want to do is write and talk about books in classes that meet three times a week. Sometimes one post per book isn’t enough (unless people want to read crazy long posts, and let’s be honest, I think my parents might be the only ones who would really read every word I wrote. Because they’re awesome.) Anyway, you may begin to see “outlier” posts that are less about the book itself and more about some of the ideas that came up within it that I need to think through. I also blame this on the amount of Young Adult fiction I read…when I finally spend time in books on my own reading level, I don’t know what to do with myself!