Tag Archives: reading

How to Read More

I love Austin Kleon’s advice on how to read more (although teachers work really hard at communicating to students how to avoid #4). Students in my 11th grade English class and I created photo illustrations for each piece of advice because we love to read!

kleon1Dylan loves to read about tacos! Who doesn’t?

kleon2Lizzie is always prepared!

 

kleon3Iman takes advantage of the class library.

kleon4Erika’s ready to chuck that book! Students aren’t used to this luxury. It gets better!

Teachers struggle to help students enjoy the books they read in class. It’s a tough gig and unfortunately our efforts sometimes have the opposite effect.

kleon6Jonathan tracks his reading. Many of my students blog about what they’re reading and thinking. Check out their blogs here.

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The Courtly Love of Books

courtlylove

When I walked into class this morning I flipped out over one of my students reading Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, one of my favorite reads ever. Lost in my enthusiasm for the book, I grabbed the book from her desk, clutched it to my chest, and rocked back and forth, performing my twitterpation for the book in front of the class. Unknown to me, this student, Tiffany, had purchased the book for a friend and she sat silently in horror, terrified at my handling of the book. When I noticed the nervous juxtaposition of her broad smile and arched brow, she said to me, “Mr. Ziebarth, I’m a courtly lover.”

Talk about juxtapositions. I had no idea what she was talking about.

“You’re a what?”

“A courtly lover of books. Just like the essay we read over the summer,” Tiffany said.

Well shame on me for not recognizing what should be a common allusion. She was referring to the essay “Never Do That to a Book,” by Anne Fadiman. As she reminded me of the essay, another student, Tabatha, blurted out, “Me too!” as she quickly produced from her backpack a copy of the next novel we’re reading, The Catcher in the Rye, lovingly embraced by a padded manilla envelope. A small group of students burst into chatter about how hard it is to write in their books, while others proclaimed how much they enjoy putting pen and pencil to page, marking their books and making them their own.

Fadiman calls this drive to draw and annotate in books a “carnal love.” She explains, “to us, a book’s words [are] holy, but the paper, cloth, cardboard, glue, thread, and ink that contained them [are] a mere vessel, and it [is] no sacrilege to treat them as wantonly as desire and pragmatism dictated.”

I don’t care how my students treat books, just that they love them.

Me? I’m a book lover of the latter sort, as you can tell by the photo of the Murakami novel above. See the little dog-eared corner of the first page? I did that. Much to Tiffany’s courtly-lover’s chagrin.

 

Reading @braddo Reading @austinkleon 1

I’ve been stealing ideas from Austin Kleon for my classroom for about five years now and I’m thrilled to have other teachers join in the looting. Brad Ovenell-Carter started blogging his reading of Kleon’s new book Show Your Work over a month ago and since then I’ve been itching to join in the fray and blog my reading of his reading.

I’m starting 76 pages into Ovenell-Carter’s reading and that doesn’t bother me. It also doesn’t bother me that I’ll be working backwards and forwards as he continues. We’re getting all McLuhan on Kleon’s little book, ya hear!

I’m floored by flow of ideas and insight that this process encourages and I can’t wait to see how all these things will blossom, wilt, flower. Feel free to join in the conversation.

A note on the process: While I’m jealous of Ovenell-Carter’s hand-drawn work (and I dig his handwritting—those loops!),  I decided to differentiate our ideas by diving into a digital toolbox, namely Skitch for Evernote.