What Am I Reading Monday

Since I’m not reading as much YA and I want to be more consistent with my blogging, I’m going to be sharing a weekly post about what I’m currently reading–YA or otherwise. 

Monday finds me halfway through Fredik Backman’s book Anxious People. This is the story about a bank robbery turned hostage situation. However, it’s definitely more than that. As the novel unfolds, it’s really about the interconnectedness of all of us. I was looking forward to being able to sink into a story, but I find the style and narration of this novel makes it a bit harder for me to sink into the story. It reads as smaller vignettes interrupted by the narrator speaking directly to the reader–almost an adult Choose Your Own Adventure. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about the style.

Posted in Reading Life | Tagged as: , , , ,

A Seat at the Table

In addition to teaching 8th grade ELA, I also teach Research Methods and Capstone Writing in the Urban Teaching Residency (UTR) program in the Graduate School of Education (GSE) at UPenn. (That knowledge and $1.25–if you have EZ Pass–will get you across the Delaware on Rt 295 in Mercer Co.) As it’s May, I’m just finishing up reading my students’ theses for completion of their Master’s Degree. One of my students designed her study to be a case study of two formerly incarcerated men. She wanted to find out how their former incarceration affected their children’s education. One of the men received a pardon, and the other is going through the pardon process. What she found and wrote about was heartbreaking.

Posted in Coming of Age | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Too Much of a Good Thing

I’ve been away from the blog for a while. Not because I have nothing to say. Simply because I haven’t been reading YA. 

Posted in Slice of Life | Tagged as: , , , , ,

Dear Mrs. Cleary,

I think I was born a reader.

Great Nana and Me circa 1974 (during my brother’s birthday party)


Some of my earliest memories were of my grandmother reading to me, trips to the library, story hour, and pouring over my favorite books. I read before I entered kindergarten (which was a big deal then–not so much anymore). I had a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Knoller, who realized that there were a few of us who could read, and she rummaged around in the storeroom, found some Dick and Jane readers, and did reading group with us. Now imagine my surprise when I got to first grade and was stuck back in phonics books learning sounds. As a six-year-old, I remember thinking, “Why am I doing this? I already know these things.” Thankfully, I was pulled out for speech, and Mrs. Schuh, realizing I could read, took the time in speech to let me read. I loved being pulled out of class to go read!

Posted in Independent Reading/SSR/Reader's Workshop | Tagged as: , , ,

A Novel Forged by Voice and Determination

My Bias
It is only fair to you, Dear Reader, that you know that I have known Erica George for a long, long time. I first met her in 1999 when she was an eighth grader walking into my English language arts class for the first time. Even then, she was a writer. The year I had Erica our curriculum had changed, and students no longer had a period for reading and a period for language arts (which was a writing class). Instead we were trying to cram everything into one 42-minute class. And I felt like I wasn’t doing her or any of my other writers justice because we lost the time to work in our notebooks. We lost time to explore. And we lost writing choice. Gone was the time when we could take a deep breath and emerge ourselves in words. However, as I followed Erica’s journey from student to ELA teacher to writer author, I learned that my students will most likely succeed in spite of me and not because of me.

Posted in Words/Language | Tagged as: , , , , , , , ,
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