In Book Love Penny takes student apathy head on, first by recognizing why students don't like to read and then showing us that when we give kids books that are right for them, along with time to read and regular response to their thinking, we can create a pathway to satisfying reading that leads to more challenging literature and ultimately a love of reading.
With a clear eye on the reality of today's classrooms, Penny provides practicacl strategies and advice on:
- Increasing volume, capacity, and complexity over time
- Creating a balance of independent reading, text study, and novel study
- Helping students deepen their thinking through writing about reading
- Building a school culture focused on the love of reading
My Review: The first question that went through my mind while reading this was, "Why are we not friends in real life?!" Penny Kittle is a teaching soul sister. I cannot agree with her more. Kids don't read. They aren't reading. They don't see their parents reading. They don't see the value in classical literature. And honestly, I can't blame them. Have you ever tried to pick up a book that's too hard for you? Talk about defeating and disheartening. No one likes to felt stupid and reading books that are too hard does just that. I'm not saying we shouldn't read classics, and neither is Kittle. But we have to build scaffolds to get kids there. We have to guide them and entice them with books that will light that spark that gets kids reading.
One of the aspects about the book that I love is how tangible her strategies are. I got so excited about implementing what she shares. Another aspect was that there were many of her ideas and strategies that I'd tried and had worked in my own classroom. It's incredibly validating to hear that what works for you works for other teachers. I wish you could see my copy of Book Love. It's color-coded with flags marking pages with sections I loved: one color for quotes, another color for theory, another for questions to ask yourself and students, etc. I read this book so quickly, I hardly believed it was a professional development book. I just agree SO MUCH.
If you're an English teacher, whether novice or veteran, PLEASE pick up this book. If you've seen the movie Shrek, please hear Donkey's voice saying, "I Believe, I believe, I believe, I believe!" Because I do. All students can develop a love of reading, can build stamina, can become life-long readers and learners. We just have to tap into what makes them tick and start tempting them with 'movie-trailer-like' book talks. If you talk about them, they will read! Thankfully Kittle doesn't stop there. She goes further into how she incorporates writing and increasing text complexity. But the heart of her message, the heart of any true English teacher, is that reading matters and ALL students can do it.
Rating: 5 stars
Sum it up: A tangible way to guide secondary students to a love of words (and help teachers along the way).