Thursday, August 29, 2013

{ book chat: school assigned reading }


The first time I ever "had" to read a book was in middle school.  Up until that point everything I'd ever read had been completely my choice and always fun.  Reading "serious" books had never crossed my mind.  I'd always shied away from anything that made me even slightly uncomfortable and in my young mind "serious" books were at the top of the list.  I'm one of those people that when something embarrassing or awkward comes on the screen I all of a sudden have to go to the bathroom, get a drink, anything to leave.

So yeah, reading a book that was based on tougher times was not for me.  Or so I thought.  It all really comes down to a teacher I had in middle school that loved books.  She absolutely adored them and it was infectious.  She made looking into these strange worlds interesting to a bunch of newly minted teenagers.

I never really realized that most of the young adult books from that time were told from a young girls point of view.  All of these stories were about things that I had absolutely no comprehension of at that time.  They did make me uncomfortable but they also made be start to think.

When I first started brainstorming this book chat topic my first thoughts were of the piles of books that I was assigned to read in high school and college.   I had teachers assign books that were classics and ones that were their personal favorites, but nothing has ever stood out for me like that very first class. 

I was lucky enough that when I finally made it to high school, so did that special teacher.  During my junior year an elective Shakespeare class was offered.  I was all set to take the only alternative that fit my schedule, Drafting seriously, but some sudden staff changes had that special teacher now leading the Study of Shakespeare.  I had about as much interest in "Where for art thou?" as I did in building a wooden car but I remembered everything that one teacher made me feel in middle school and that was enough to get me in the door.

So while I did discover some wonderful and amazing books that are still some of my favorites to this day, what really got me started was a teacher.  One amazing, special teacher that shared her love of books and showed a bunch of young kids a different way to look at the world.  A lot of the emphasis of school reading is given to us in high school and college but if we all were able to experience that something special in middle school as well,  maybe most of us wouldn't have to read the Cliff Notes.    


  1. How awesome that your school offered that Shakespeare class. You have some great picks in this post.

  2. I always forget about Number the Stars, but that was definitely a great book! Although I think I read it for pleasure, not school.

  3. I remember reading and loving Number the Stars, but I don't think it was ever an assigned book. I probably read it for the AR points. I hope to get around to reading Little Women someday, also!

    That's true that most assigned reading is done in high school and college....luckily I also had an amazing middle school teacher who got us into The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy in the 8th grade.

  4. My Mum was my special person to share her love of reading and its something that we've continued to share into my adulthood and that I now share with my son. So love that!

  5. I had one fabulous history teacher who so clearly loved the topic he was teaching that you couldn't help but love it as well. So glad you had one who got you to love reading! I can't imagine my school offering a Shakespeare elective!


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