My Life as a Book

My Life as a BookMy Life as a Book was delivered to my door a few days ago. I’m always on the look out for books that might appeal to my 5th grade grandson. Reading is not his thing. His mother is an avid reader. I’m an avid reader. Grandpa enjoys reading. He is surrounded by books and book talk. We have read and read to him. Mother and son listen to books on tape in the car. Mother and son go to the library. Flashback: He had not reached his first birthday before I was engaged in Reading Recovery training. I was learning a lot of about the reading process so with great joy I observed his on target literacy development and was amazed. I’m thinking: This is good. So then…what happened during the school years? I didn’t think we would have to worry about this child’s reading. But he hasn’t found the passion. He struggles with reading assignments. Jim Trelease always says it just takes one book to begin a love affair with reading.  I’m wondering if takes more though. Laughter was heard from his bedroom as he read his way through Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Hope. No, he didn’t develop the passion. Thus, always on the look out… The title,  My Life as a Book,  intrigued me. On opening the book I noticed the font is easy to read with plenty of space between the lines. Jake Tashjian, 15, illustrator, uses stick drawings in the margins for vocabulary in the book. The book has a Diary of a Wimpy Kid feel. Definite plus for a reluctant boy reader. The story: Derek Fallon does everything to avoid any “real” reading. Calvin and Hobbs (this is what my grandson loves to read) doesn’t count as “real” reading according to the readers around him.  His mother does everything to encourage Derek to read. She offers one chocolate chip per page and then even raises it to two chips per page. Derek escapes from the well-meaning reading incentive to the attic. An old newspaper with the headline, LOCAL GIRL FOUND DEAD ON BEACH catches his eye.  Intrigued? This book has potential for my reluctant reader. It is getting wrapped. I’ll let you know his response.

Classroom connections: Great read aloud. Great text when teaching students about visualization or creating mental images. One of the leaders at camp, Margot, talks Derek about visualizing as he reads. I’m sure many students will see themselves in Derek’s character.

Memorable Quotes from the book:

“Worse than that, suppose nothing happens and I’ve spent my summer obsessed with something that doesn’t have any meaning at all.”

Maybe evolving is what we’re supposed to do–all of us, all the time.”

“…we all mess up sometimes and struggle with things that are difficult. That even if reading is hard, everyone needs stories. I didn’t want to read the books on the list, but I wound up surrounded by stories anyway–”

Share your story. What was the title of the book that began your love affair with books? Or perhaps you haven’t read it yet. Share your experiences that developed your reading passion or experiences that didn’t develop the passion.

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This entry was posted in book review, intermediate, visualization, vocabulary and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to My Life as a Book

  1. Ruth says:

    One title? I don’t know. I don’t remember ever NOT wanting to read. I remember reading everything & anything. Mom would bring books home, I’d read them, she’d bring more. I don’t know why I read (and kept at it).

    Still don’t know why I read and read and read. I think it’s because I love stories and the way my thinking changes as I read more and more stories.

    Stories matter. A lot.

  2. Steve says:

    The first book reading that I remember to this day was “Yellow Eyes”. I remember my third grade teacher (who I had a crush on) reading that to us in class. Today, decades later I still can recall her doing that. Teachers, you don’t know all the positive seeds you sow! Aside from that, at about the same time periood, I also remember two series, Danny Orlis nad the Hardy Boys. Following those in order were probably anything about horses, self help along with Christian fiction and many more self help. Yeah, I need a lot!

    I think that the selection and benifits of reading and reading itself, are all part of the journey, not a destination. Just like life! What may interest you today may not later and vice versa. So for kids and adults it might just be looking for that next ONE book, then the next one AFTER that. 🙂 PS. I doubt a little Calvin and Hobbes hurt anyone. LOL

  3. Tammy says:

    The first book I can remember falling in love with was Heidi. It was an easy read aloud edition for young readers. I am an outdoors gal so this book appealed to me with its mountains, grandpa and goats. I have always been a reader as my dad took our T.V. away for almost six years so we would do our farm chores, and read. He was a reader and expected us to read each evening. We would also discuss what we read with the family over supper. So I have always loved books.

    • Deb says:

      I love this book too! I also loved the movie, Heidi, with Shirley Temple. What a smart dad…he knew about the power of turn and talk before that phrase became popular. 🙂

  4. Mary Helen says:

    I remember loving Clifford.
    I was a struggling reader – and I KNEW it. I remember being in transitional first grade and doing better, yet still being below others. I have avid memories of kindergarten and not being able to sound out the cvc words well or read the sight words. I remember attending summer school and filling out workbook pages and not getting it – and crying inside because I just couldn’t understand. I remember being in the ‘buzzard’ reading group in third grade. I, unfortunately, HATED reading!! Looking back, I know that I was an ESL kid, having been a missionary kid in a Spanish speaking country. But it didn’t matter – I hated reading… until my third grade teacher introduced me to Clifford. I liked the dog and I could read the words and it was wonderful!
    My third grade teacher also read to us daily. The book I treasured was Charlotte’s Web. You see, although I hated reading, I loved being read to.
    Now, I have many books that I love and try like you to share with kids. MHG

    • Deb says:

      Thank you so much for sharing. We had a literacy meeting today to look over reading level lexiles scores that the state has posted. I am so concerned what message kids will get if they are not on “grade level” according to the state. Kids are smart…they know if they are struggling even in the most nurturing environment. They wonder why the person sitting next to them gets it with perhaps less effort and they don’t. So glad your third grade teacher was so smart!

  5. Pat says:

    Your blog is great! I also marked it as a favorite. It will be fun to read about your thoughts since I don’t get to talk to you often.
    I can not think of a single book that ignited my passion for reading but many. I have always loved to read. I grew up in a family that did not have a television so the whole family read, even my four brothers! One brother was a struggling reader but Mom bought him what was then called “comic books.” He read the classics and many other books that way. As a child, I read all kinds of books going through a fad of every horse story that I could find to the Nancy Drew series. I still love to read and the thrill of new books. My husband bought me a “Nook” last year for Christmas. I do use it especially when we travel because I don’t need to fill the suitcase with books, but there is nothing like the thrill of a new book in my hands. I also get excited about those Amazon boxes.

  6. the other Ruth says:

    I too cannot bear to pick just one book! I’ve been in love with books as long as I can remember. I surround myself with them and find that at different times and for different purposes, my favorites change.
    For me, I think it was the act of reading itself and being read to that mattered. I have vivid memories of my mother reading to us even as we grew older, and I remember gathering my sisters and brother behind the chair in the corner of our living room so I could read to them. I read everywhere–and still do!

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