Tag Archives: reading life

Rereading Childhood Favorites

As an avid reader, I’ve been in love with books as long as I can remember. My reward for any good deed I did as a child was a trip to Hasting’s or Half Price Books where my parents would buy me a book (or two or three if I was convincing enough) of my choosing. Frequent visits to the public library were a staple in my summer life. The Scholastic Book Fair was one of the most exciting weeks of the school year, where I was given money and allowed to buy any book my heart desired. Anywhere I went, I carried a book, never wanting to waste a spare moment of time I could have been reading.

Needless to say, I amassed a long list of favorite books as a child, ones that I recommended frequently, sharing the joy they had brought me when I read them. By the time I got into chapter books early on in elementary school, I wasn’t a re-reader. Despite falling in love with different characters and series, I thought it more important to devour new titles rather than spend my time re-reading a book I’d already finished. However, as an adult, I fondly looked back on these childhood favorites and longed to read them again, in hopes of them taking me back to a simpler time, allowing me to experience the joy they once brought me.

Although what I’ve realized through this read down memory lane is that the good memories I have of reading these books as child don’t always translate into my adult reading life and preferences. Oftentimes these revisits leave me empty, wondering why I fell in love with the book in the first place, souring me on the title altogether. It’s a bit like your first love. You look back fondly on the relationship, reliving the highlights, romanticizing the person and wondering why you ever let them go. But when you see them again, you’re let down, doubting your memories and left wondering, What was I thinking?!

So, rather than slog through some of my childhood favorites just to come up short, I’d rather look back on them like an old love, savoring the memories and the good feelings they brought me. In my opinion, it’s better to maintain the illusion than shatter it.

Books, Books, Books- SOL

Today’s post is dedicated to…you guessed it…books! I thought I’d give you a peek into my reading life.

What I’m Reading:

I’m reading City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau with my fifth and sixth graders in Book Club. We made a commitment to read ONLY to the end of chapter ten before Thursday, and I’m finding it really hard to keep that commitment! Chapter ten ended at such a cliffhanger, that I’m dying to keep reading! So far I like it, but I keep having this nagging feeling that I’ve read this book before. I don’t mean that I’ve actually read City of Ember, but the story reminds me of The Hunger Games and 1984 by George Orwell. The theme of governmental control is overwhelmingly obvious. I wonder if my students will pick up on that.

I’m reading 3 other books with my first and second grade Book Clubs. One is School Story by Andrew Clements. Another is Frogs, a nonfiction National Geographic reader. And finally, Alone in the Night, a beginning chapter book about a cat named Star and a girl named Jasmine who loves her and cares for her. These aren’t my favorites, but my students are really enjoying them.

Professionally I’m reading Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller, and I’m learning so much about teaching literacy to first graders! I’m only on page 50, but I’m ready to get back into it and learn some more! I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but it makes me want to try out teaching first grade. I wonder if this feeling will pass…

Personally I’m reading Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. To say I’m reading this one is actually a stretch. A more accurate description would be that I’m stalled in it. The first three books were a breeze to get through, and I enjoyed them, but Breaking Dawn hasn’t had the same appeal to me. I’ve read about half of the book, but every time I come back to it, I can’t even seem to get through a chapter without feeling bored. I’m not giving up on it, but it’s on the back burner. I’m also reading Spilling Ink by Phelam, Potter, and Mazer and an assortment of picture books at random. Now that I don’t have my own class, I find that I’m missing out on reading picture books, so I’m adding to my repertoire by reading a few each week. If you have any suggestions, by all means, leave them in the comments section!

What’s in My Stack:
Here’s a glimpse at the books that are in my “To Read” stack, in no particular order.

The Vow by Kim & Krickitt Carpenter
The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Room by Emma Donoghue
Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi
Growing Readers by Kathy Collins
Making Thinking Visible by Ritchhart, Morrison, and Church

What I’m Recommending:

Lately I find myself gushing over Wonder by R. J. Palacio. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you love YA fiction, this one is a page turner that will tug at your heart strings and make you “wonder” about so many things!

I recently read Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper in my 5th/6th grade Book Club, and it suddenly shot up to my top ten! This is another great YA fiction read that will get you thinking! You’ll just love Melody and her unwavering spirit. I recommend this book to everyone- kids, teachers, friends, parents- everyone!

Have you ever read The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt? It’s a great read, right? I agree, but now that I’ve read the companion novel, Okay for Now, Wednesday Wars isn’t all that. Okay for Now is a beautifully written coming-of-age book focused on Doug and the struggles in his life. I found myself savoring this book, reading only a chapter or two at a time, in an attempt to have it last longer. I highly, highly recommend it!page1image40816 page1image40976

What’s on My Wish List:

Mentor Texts by Lynne R. Dorfman
The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis
What You Know by Heart by Katie Wood Ray
My own copies of Wonder, Okay for Now, and Out of My Mind
*By the way, my birthday’s in 2 months….you know, just in case you were wondering. 😉 

Reading…Is There Anything Better?- SOL

Reading has and always will be an important part of my life. Reading makes my heart happy. If I’m unusually crabby, it’s usually because I haven’t read lately. Reading is comfortable, thought-provoking, and intriguing. Reading opens your heart and mind to other ideas, places, perspectives. This post is dedicated to one of my favorite pastimes.

I read YA fiction, realistic fiction, historical fiction (my new fave!), fantasies, blogs, feature articles, Facebook statuses, biographies, professional books (primarily focused on reading, writing, & teaching through inquiry), emails, picture books, series, books from authors I love, letters and notes from friends, old favorites, book reviews, Pinterest captions, Slices of Life, children’s writing (I love when they share their writing with me!), school documents, poetry, memoir, interviews, and magazine articles. I read in print and digitally on the Internet and on my iPad. While I love the feel and smell of a “real” book, I enjoy the conveniences of e-readers. I write about my reading in my reader’s notebook. I love to recommend books to others, and I have a knack for finding *just* the right book for those reluctant readers.

Books I’ve read in the past are defining moments in my life. I can distinctly remember reading From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg in fourth grade, which is a book about adventure and mystery and “running away to find yourself.” I have reread that book over ten times since then, many times as a read aloud or in a book club with students, and I enjoy it every time I read it. Being able to share my love of literature with children allows me to connect with them in a whole new way. When you share books you love, those books that stay with you and resonate with who you are, you are sharing a piece of your soul.

I decided to slice about reading today because this evening I was tutoring Jennifer, a seventh grader who, when I met her a month ago told me that she “hates reading.” When I walked in today, she began excitedly talking about Jeff from There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom like he was a real person, showed me her new Scholastic books that she bought from school, talked about her reading plans for when she finishes There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom, and told me she couldn’t wait to read more of The Hunger Games with me tonight. I just smiled, took it all in, and thought to myself, “Yep, she’s caught the reading bug.” I couldn’t be happier! 😉