All the participants were given a book to read at the conference last week. We were expected to read their book through the lens of the thinking strategy they were studying. Ten titles, nonfiction and fiction, were booked talked, then participants at each table had to come to consensus about which book they would select. Participants were invited to choose a genre that would challenge their reading and thinking.
Hmmm, what I discovered about my reading was that being in the library media field, I read a lot and am familiar with most styles of writing. I selected Ultimate Challenge by Alan Gottlieb, a dark, grisly book about how one man copes when forced to keep a secret when his best friend dies unexpectedly while both were in the Peace Corps. Okay, so my thinking strategy was “synthesizing”. Throughout the week, the conversation always returned to “is synthesizing really a thinking strategy or is it the umbrella for which all others strategies come under”?
So how did I synthesize my reading of Ultimate Excursion? What did I think about as I read it? Armed with post-its and pens (because even though we could write in the book, I could not bring myself to do so), I began reading. I was brought back to a place twenty years ago when I led adult literature circles for class credit. I was brought back in my mind to my visit to Columbia University, a workshop with Lucy Caulkins and Shelly Harwayne as we explore “what lens do you read through”. I read through the lens of a reader, not a librarian trying to get through books in order to make selection choices. There is a difference. Sometimes I felt annoyed because I impose a “must think about this” on every page and that slows your reading down. Yet, there was joy in slowing down, savoring the words. Eventually, I set aside the post-its and just read. I had to enforce lights out in Denver or I would have stay up all night. It was an “ultimate excursion” to read this book. It might make for a good read at high school level. I am wonmdering if I could talk my book club into reading the book. They typically do not go for dark reads. Do you know how much we synthesize without realizing it.
Fifth grade boys are crazy about the Guardians of Ga’hoole series by Kathryn Lasky. I blogged about this two weeks ago. I discovered Kathryn Lasky’s website and how to contact her and passed it onto the boys. Today, Ben came down to tell me he had emailed her and she responded. To see the joy on that boy’s face. Thank you to all the authors out there who take the time to respond to students.
What is on your nightstand? Happy Reading.