Sitting in my son’s 7th grade Reading classroom on Parents’ Night last month, I heard something that was music to my ears…no more book report projects!
Alex’s Reading teacher categorically promised that there would be no dioramas, no mobiles, no story cubes. Her reasoning: that’s not what happens in the real world. “I love to read,” she explained, “but when you come to my house, you don’t see mobiles hanging from the ceiling and dioramas lining my shelves.” What does she do instead? She talks about books. That’s what people do when they discover a new book that they love (or hate, or feel ambivalent about). They talk about it with other readers.
So that’s what I started doing with my boys; and it’s been refreshing, inspiring, and fun. And a bit of a duh! moment for me. My husband’s an English teacher. He talks to kids about books all day long. That should have been obvious to me. But too often my boys and I became mired in the structural issues of shoebox stacking and wire hanger bending to really focus on the book itself. We’d get so caught up in glue, scissors, and lifelike representations of the Hunger Games arena… that we didn’t give proper time to actually talking about what The Hunger Games is saying.
Maybe my boys were doing this all along, and talking about their favorite books with friends. Now that I don’t have to worry about book reports, I’m looking forward to getting in on the conversation!