“I hated reading. I loved playing sports. I only read when my school made me. I wanted to kick, throw balls, and run. I didn’t even do the pizza reading competitions at the local public library. By the way, my mother and grandmother were librarians. My literate mind was saved by two things. First, I always did my homework and reading for school. Second, I loved Sports Illustrated. I read it weekly, cover to cover. This didn’t change until a friend gave me a book on the Holy Spirit as a junior. I was shocked that you could ever learn something so deep and meaningful so quickly before! Ever since, I haven’t stopped consuming…”
“I loved and currently like to read autobiographies, social-political types of books about current events. Early on my favorite reads were generally about my sports heroes like Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul Jab-bar. I have recommended several titles to the library that you might want to check out, such as Hill Harper’s Letters to a Young Brother and Letters to a Young Sister and Judge Mathis’s Inner City Miracle.”
~Mr. Bert Bazemore, HS Counselor
Here’s another school who is building a community of readers like we do at LFLA.
Approximately three years ago, Chatham Middle and High School teachers implemented an independent reading initiative for their students. There are many components to implementing an effective independent reading program, especially at the middle and high school levels. To explain all we did (and do) requires a much longer blog post or, say, full texts written by brilliant educators like Donalyn Miller or Penny Kittle (our IR muses). Instead, I’d like to focus this brief post on one of the most surprising, yet inspiring results of our independent reading initiative. This initiative strengthened our school community.
All our students have one thing in common – books. They are readers. They know the classmate sitting next to them reads. They know their teachers read. They know that they belong to this community.
Community of Readers
Books bring people together. Readers have book clubs, book stores, libraries, used book sales, GoodReads…
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Sharon Draper is know for her urban and historical fiction. Her books are very popular among LFLA high school students, most of whom started reading her when they were in middle school. Sophomore Ashyrha’s favorite book when she was younger was Forged by Fire. She says she liked it because “I love drama books.” In addition to drama books, Ashyrha also enjoys mystery, comedy and books with a message.
Freshman Tracy’s favorite book from when she was younger is one of Draper’s historical fiction books, Fire From the Rock, that tells the story of school integration. Tracy says, “I love reading books about segregation.” Tracy also enjoys urban fiction.
Fire From the Rock is on this year’s high school Book Battle list, and Draper’s newest book, Stella By Starlight is on the middle school Book Battle list. It was inspired by her grandma’s diaries. Watch this video to hear from the author herself about this book.