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September 30, 2014 Open a World of Possible: Teaching Through Memorable Books By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    One of the most important things I can do in my classroom is to instill a love of reading and learning in my students. I don’t always care about their skill level, but I do care that they want to learn. Reading can be extremely powerful, it can teach us about ourselves and the world. In fact, reading can “Open a World of Possible” for all of us. When I look for excellent books to share with my students, I first remember those books that had an impact on me or my family. I want to share five of those special experiences with you and encourage you to think about the books that have impacted your life as well. Please share! I’d love to hear what books were powerful for you and why you made the connection. You never know when that same book might open a world of possible for someone else.

     

    The Monster at the end of this Book

    There's a Monster at the End of this Book

    I don’t always love TV characters infiltrating my books, but I guess I can make an exception for the loveable Grover. This is probably the first book I remember asking my mom to read again and again and again as a 5-year-old. The humor of Grover warning readers not to turn the page, and the destruction that happened on each page as his plans were thwarted, was hilarious. Story reading is a special bonding time between parent and child, but that’s not what affected me with this book. I was amazed and thrilled at the humor that tickled me again and again.

     

     

    Teacher Tip: Connect to students with humor. Some other seriously funny stories:

    Big Smelly Bear Timmy Failure My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish

     

    The American Girl Series

    My little sister is five-and-a-half years younger than me. I would read to her as the loving, and somewhat bossy, older sister. In fact, I probably made her listen to stories I deemed important for her upbringing. Starting in about second grade, my sister would tuck herself under the kitchen table and take on reading on her own. She made a special connection with the American Girl series. My grandma helped fuel the love by getting her the dolls and dresses to go with the books. I read them much later in my own classroom, and understood the attraction. At the time, though, all I knew was that my sister was blossoming into a reader with her own interests who was learning to share with me about this magical world she discovered.

    Teacher Tip: Start a series to keep young readers reading. Some other series students love:

    Dear America I Survived Series Big Nate

     

    Bridge to Terabithia

    I was an early reader and often was reading books ahead of my years. I remember reading Misery just so I could watch Bridge to Terabithiathe movie, or Then There Were None because mysteries were interesting. It was hard to find a book that soothed my need for “real” books with complex characters and issues that were still appropriate for a child. Bridge to Terabithia was my favorite book from the moment I cracked the cover and met the somewhat shy, artistic boy until the unexpected end of my first female heroine. I even loved the magical world the pair created for themselves, and found myself looking for magical moments when I was outside. I shared the book as a real-aloud my first year teaching and my students cried and cried. It was the first time I shared a book that was magical for me that had the same effect on someone else.

     

    Teacher Tip: Share the magic. If you find something special and hold it dear, let students know and they will see it in a new light as well. Don’t be afraid of hard topics because they are highly meaningful. Some other books with meaningful connections:

    Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade The Pain and the Great one Freak the Mighty

     

    Harry Potter

    Harry Potter Bedroom

    I refused to read Harry Potter. I was a little past the age of kids who were the target audience (although I realized later HP fans crossed age lines) and I didn’t really care for magic and fake worlds. I didn’t think wizards could possibly be for me. I watched the movies and loved them. After a midnight showing of the sixth film, my friend said, “Well you know how in the book . . .  .” and I didn’t! This grown woman refused to speak to me until I read them. I had the set and once I got started, I turned into a 12-year-old, ignoring all worldly responsibilities, staying up all hours, and devouring the books within a week. I was hooked. I started reading the books to my oldest son when he entered PreK, thinking we could share one a year and then watch the movies afterwards. We finished them all by the end of second grade, then traveled to Harry Potter World in Orlando last spring. He was just as hooked on the magic as I was and now, we have started pulling my younger son into the club with us. Even as an adult, I see others with the Deathly Hollows on a necklace and we are instantly united.

    Teacher Tip: Don’t judge a book by its cover. You might just love something you never expected. Some other books I didn’t expect to enjoy:

    Diary of a Worm The Bad Beginning Hatchet

     

    The Watsons go to Birmingham 1963

    The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963

    I read The Watsons go to Birmingham to my fourth grade class, not knowing how they would take it. The class fell in love with the hilarious Lipless Wonder, the bossy big brother, the little brother coming of age, and the family dynamics they could easily identify with. I’ve read books to my class that they enjoyed, laughed at, or even totally disliked, but Watsons was the first time I saw a book affect my students. It tickled them, it shook them up, it made them wonder and want to read more. We built classroom experiences based on the story, but it was truly just the way they connected with the book and then with each other, that was incredible. That connection made The Watsons go to Birmingham one of my favorite stories—I can still see the light bouncing behind my students’ eyes.

     

    Teacher Tip: Use stories that reflect the real lives of your students. They make connections when they see themselves in the story. Then make the story come to life with engaging activities to extend the learning. Some books that make great lessons:

    The Adventures of Captain Underpants The Whipping Boy Because of Winn Dixie

     

    What books have impacted you? What books have you brought from home to the classroom? How have there been powerful stories created?

    Share how you Open a World of Possible with reading in the comment section below, or on Facebook by using the hashtag #sharepossible!

     

    Join us for an exclusive video with Taylor Swift about books, and how reading and writing have influenced her.

     

     

    One of the most important things I can do in my classroom is to instill a love of reading and learning in my students. I don’t always care about their skill level, but I do care that they want to learn. Reading can be extremely powerful, it can teach us about ourselves and the world. In fact, reading can “Open a World of Possible” for all of us. When I look for excellent books to share with my students, I first remember those books that had an impact on me or my family. I want to share five of those special experiences with you and encourage you to think about the books that have impacted your life as well. Please share! I’d love to hear what books were powerful for you and why you made the connection. You never know when that same book might open a world of possible for someone else.

     

    The Monster at the end of this Book

    There's a Monster at the End of this Book

    I don’t always love TV characters infiltrating my books, but I guess I can make an exception for the loveable Grover. This is probably the first book I remember asking my mom to read again and again and again as a 5-year-old. The humor of Grover warning readers not to turn the page, and the destruction that happened on each page as his plans were thwarted, was hilarious. Story reading is a special bonding time between parent and child, but that’s not what affected me with this book. I was amazed and thrilled at the humor that tickled me again and again.

     

     

    Teacher Tip: Connect to students with humor. Some other seriously funny stories:

    Big Smelly Bear Timmy Failure My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish

     

    The American Girl Series

    My little sister is five-and-a-half years younger than me. I would read to her as the loving, and somewhat bossy, older sister. In fact, I probably made her listen to stories I deemed important for her upbringing. Starting in about second grade, my sister would tuck herself under the kitchen table and take on reading on her own. She made a special connection with the American Girl series. My grandma helped fuel the love by getting her the dolls and dresses to go with the books. I read them much later in my own classroom, and understood the attraction. At the time, though, all I knew was that my sister was blossoming into a reader with her own interests who was learning to share with me about this magical world she discovered.

    Teacher Tip: Start a series to keep young readers reading. Some other series students love:

    Dear America I Survived Series Big Nate

     

    Bridge to Terabithia

    I was an early reader and often was reading books ahead of my years. I remember reading Misery just so I could watch Bridge to Terabithiathe movie, or Then There Were None because mysteries were interesting. It was hard to find a book that soothed my need for “real” books with complex characters and issues that were still appropriate for a child. Bridge to Terabithia was my favorite book from the moment I cracked the cover and met the somewhat shy, artistic boy until the unexpected end of my first female heroine. I even loved the magical world the pair created for themselves, and found myself looking for magical moments when I was outside. I shared the book as a real-aloud my first year teaching and my students cried and cried. It was the first time I shared a book that was magical for me that had the same effect on someone else.

     

    Teacher Tip: Share the magic. If you find something special and hold it dear, let students know and they will see it in a new light as well. Don’t be afraid of hard topics because they are highly meaningful. Some other books with meaningful connections:

    Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade The Pain and the Great one Freak the Mighty

     

    Harry Potter

    Harry Potter Bedroom

    I refused to read Harry Potter. I was a little past the age of kids who were the target audience (although I realized later HP fans crossed age lines) and I didn’t really care for magic and fake worlds. I didn’t think wizards could possibly be for me. I watched the movies and loved them. After a midnight showing of the sixth film, my friend said, “Well you know how in the book . . .  .” and I didn’t! This grown woman refused to speak to me until I read them. I had the set and once I got started, I turned into a 12-year-old, ignoring all worldly responsibilities, staying up all hours, and devouring the books within a week. I was hooked. I started reading the books to my oldest son when he entered PreK, thinking we could share one a year and then watch the movies afterwards. We finished them all by the end of second grade, then traveled to Harry Potter World in Orlando last spring. He was just as hooked on the magic as I was and now, we have started pulling my younger son into the club with us. Even as an adult, I see others with the Deathly Hollows on a necklace and we are instantly united.

    Teacher Tip: Don’t judge a book by its cover. You might just love something you never expected. Some other books I didn’t expect to enjoy:

    Diary of a Worm The Bad Beginning Hatchet

     

    The Watsons go to Birmingham 1963

    The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963

    I read The Watsons go to Birmingham to my fourth grade class, not knowing how they would take it. The class fell in love with the hilarious Lipless Wonder, the bossy big brother, the little brother coming of age, and the family dynamics they could easily identify with. I’ve read books to my class that they enjoyed, laughed at, or even totally disliked, but Watsons was the first time I saw a book affect my students. It tickled them, it shook them up, it made them wonder and want to read more. We built classroom experiences based on the story, but it was truly just the way they connected with the book and then with each other, that was incredible. That connection made The Watsons go to Birmingham one of my favorite stories—I can still see the light bouncing behind my students’ eyes.

     

    Teacher Tip: Use stories that reflect the real lives of your students. They make connections when they see themselves in the story. Then make the story come to life with engaging activities to extend the learning. Some books that make great lessons:

    The Adventures of Captain Underpants The Whipping Boy Because of Winn Dixie

     

    What books have impacted you? What books have you brought from home to the classroom? How have there been powerful stories created?

    Share how you Open a World of Possible with reading in the comment section below, or on Facebook by using the hashtag #sharepossible!

     

    Join us for an exclusive video with Taylor Swift about books, and how reading and writing have influenced her.

     

     

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