As I reflect on the reading I have done this semester, I notice that I have become a much better reader. I now approach reading first by identifying my purpose. For the longer chapter books I am finding it helpful to identify the genre, setting, or types of characters first and then determine my approach.
If the book won a major literary award, I ask myself why. When I began reading A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos (winner of the 1980 Newbery Medal) I found the language slightly difficult to read. It was taking me much longer than usual to get through it. But as soon as I focused on the setting, and put into perspective the demographics, political atmosphere, and cultural attitudes of that era, I was able to better understand the journal entries.
Of the literary prizes that we have discussed, I think I like the Schneider Family Award the best. I read Rain, Reign by Ann M. Martin. I think it is very beneficial for children, and adults for that matter, to read stories of people’s struggles with disabilities. With knowledge comes acceptance and equality.
I have been trying to incorporate predominantly books with an older elementary grade level into my weekly reading mostly because they align with my teaching goals. The depth in some of these types of stories really captures my attention. But I also try to read a few picture books to round out my exposure and because they are really fun to read. It is very relaxing to spend brief moments of down time reading about a scary crocodile who wants to be a pet or about a monster under the bed who is as afraid of the boy as the boy is of him. My favorite so far is The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman and illustrated by Marla Frazee. It is so lively and the pictures have such great detail.
As I ask myself the question of what type of story I like the best, I think the answer would best be described as subjects that deal with the early expansion of the United States and the roles of girls and women, children who are facing their inner most fears or some inner conflict, and science fiction. I hope I never have to read a teenage romance.