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A year ago this week was when I began thinking about not only changing grade levels, but also changing schools. Although it was not an easy decision, the biggest enticement for me was teaching language arts and sharing my passion for reading and writing to four times as many students. How much better could it get, right?
Well, little did I know exactly what kind of a challenge motivating middle school students to read would be.
I quickly found out that middle school students not only do not have as much time to read, but many do not even like to read. I think many felt it was not "cool" to read, and image is everything to this age group. I set out to change that.
I would give book talks and have them tweet about books. I even exposed my reading life on my classroom door. But I still could not spark that passion. I was usually pretty successful at motivating my 4th grade students to read, and I became frustrated by my lack of success. I was pretty confident I could change that, but I knew it would take the right book.
Finally...after almost an entire year has passed, I found the book that has ignited reading in my classroom. Our social studies teacher came down the other day with the book in his hands and asked, "What is the deal with this book? Everyone is reading it!"
I smiled and replied, "I know! Isn't it great?"
The book is Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman, and it is about social media and the implications of making a poor decision. I had to order three additional copies, making it a total of five, and I still don't have enough to fulfill the demand. I even have several students who bought the book and are sharing them with students as well.
This book is timely. This book is relevant to middle school students. This book was what my students were looking for....finally!