Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SOLSC #19 - My Reading Gap

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Two Writing Teachers

I have always been a reader.  But what kind of a reader am I?  How would I describe myself as a reader?  That is a question I have been pondering as of late.

Last week a fifth grade teacher was reading Where the Red Fern Grows to her students.  As you might expect if you have ever read that book, many of them were in tears by the end of the story.

One of my former students asked her, "Do you read books like Mrs. Eck where someone always dies?"

I will admit I do prefer realistic and historical fiction.  I have never read a graphic novel, and I tend to shy away from science fiction.  I read fantasy, but I am not a big fan of it.  (I only made it through two of the Harry potter books.)

If I could create a genre, it would the "heart fiction" genre.

I am a straight-to-the-heart kind of reader.

I am a rip-it-out-but-put-it-back kind of reader.

I am a make-me-cry kind of reader.

It just so happens that many of the books I read someone or something dies.  I don't plan it that way.  I am just pulled towards those kinds of books.  I love books that elicit an emotional response.  But it doesn't take much to do that - I actually cry over Hallmark and Folger's coffee commercials!  That is why I love Bridge to Terabithia, Wonder, A Dog Called Homeless, and Tuck Everlasting...and many, many others!  They tug at my heart...they make me cry!

I was reading a comment on Alyson's blog at Kit Lit Frenzy.  The post was about her work with first graders and how she connected with one little girl.  Alyson wrote down some book titles on a sticky note and shared them with the girl.  In the comments section Maria Selke wrote "THIS is why we need to read widely."

This made me realize I have some huge reading gaps.  Reading gaps that I need to fill in order to reach more of my students.  Reading gaps that explain why these (and many more) are still on my TBR shelf.

So much is being discussed about this book, Grasshopper Jungle, and I keep telling have gaps and this is one of them!  Just read it!  

So, I will continue to stretch myself as a reader, but I will always favor my heart fiction! So, pull up book, grab a box of tissues, and cry read with me!


  1. Everyone has books on their TBR list and the list keeps growing. I feel happy that my older daughters stretch me to areas where I wouldn't venture myself. I read John Green books (starting with Fault in our Stars) and Veronica Roth's Divergent series and now we are ready for the movies. Of the books you shared I have read only the Doll Bones. Liked it.

  2. All of your featured books are also on my TBR list. Heart books to add to your favorite genre if you haven't already read them include One for the Murphys, Lions of Little Rock, and Making Toast (an adult memoir). I read this post to my students and they added Tangle of Knots, Because of Mr. Terupt, My Brother Sam Is Dead, Chains, Counting by 7s and One Came Home.

  3. Leigh Anne - I am so happy that I stopped by today. Thank you for the shout out, and so glad A Dog Called Homeless was on your list. That one is special to me. And yes, I too have certain things I favor but reading widely I do because I love the way students respond. Good luck with Grasshopper Jungle. I enjoyed it but it isn't for everyone.

  4. I admit that since I retired there is a huge gap in my YA reading. Dare I say that for pleasure reading most of the books I read also have someone dead in it. Only thing is the they die at the beginning and the book is trying to solve who-done-it.

  5. I have a ton of books that are on TBR list. The pile never seems to get smaller. It consists of a wide range of books and many of them are probably going to make make must read again sometime list. lol My 1st grade students are so eager to read and it's amazing to me how hungry some of them are for different types of books.

  6. Best line..."I am a rip-it-out-but-put-it-back kind of reader." :)
    Book recommendation for you (it's total heart fiction): The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
    I have reading gaps, too, but I find that if I dabble a little in a new genre, I can find a book or two I really enjoy!

  7. Oooh, great books there, Leigh Anne. I have to get Grasshopper Jungle, since everyone is raving about it so!

  8. I can connect to this post, Leigh Anne! My students and friends always make fun of me that I love books in which someone (or a pet) dies! I even wrote a whole post titled "Death and Loss in Middle Grade Novels" - it's one of my most-read posts! I just got Grasshopper Jungle from the library. ;-) We must be kindred spirits!

  9. Leigh Anne, I so get your point! I don't like fantasy or science fiction! I never touched Harry Potter. I struggle to read YA and read books that I enjoy. Maybe there is something new to discover this year!

  10. I have to agree, I do enjoy a good cry book too. It's hard to read outside our preferred choice, but necessary to reach all readers. You can do it!

  11. Thank you for sharing some of those books. We were talking about what to read next to our group of 6th graders and you have given me some fantastic ideas to take back!! I am grateful!

  12. I love all those books, & you're such a good teacher if you stretch and find others who fit students who have different choices. Love Ophelia & The Marvelous Boy, & others on that 'new' list, Leigh Anne!

  13. I love realistic and historical fiction too...and have to remember to read others as well! ;0)