Why a good book is a secret door

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Thank You Letter to the students of 341: Fall 2015

Thank You Letter to the students of 341: Fall 2015

Open letter to the lovely students of English 341:

You gave me a language for my own reading practices. As I read your notebooks, your blogs, and as we read and talked together in class, I learned even more about myself as a reader. Ashley explained that she loves to read books that do the work of “world building” and I thought “That’s it! That’s why I love Divergent, Hunger Games, and games like Fieldrunners!” I, too, love to build worlds, which is probably why I find such joy in building classrooms. Many of you talked about how you devour dystopian fiction or your search for “sappy” novels, and as you shared quotes and characters, I fell in love with those stories too.

It was especially joyful to read your notebooks and see you—one at a time—remember that you do love reading. You just need time, and recommendations, and a community who reads:

 As an English student, I always prioritize class reading and forget that there are other books that I love.

 I haven’t read a book for pure enjoyment in years. This has been a gift.

 I have also started reading a lot more “just for fun” books in my free time. I have found myself knocking out a 400 page book in under a week, reading when I have the time.

 I think I finally got my thirst for reading again…

 So perhaps reading just dropped out of your routine or reading for school tore your joy for reading out of you page by page. But your notebook pages shared what it was like to re-read your childhood favorites and how much you enjoyed returning to books like old friends.

Like you, I loved our silent reading time, but mostly I loved turning to someone and talking immediately about what we’d just read. A few of you captured our silent reading time perfectly:

 Silent reading time is still doing a nasty job on me. Nasty meaning unbelievable awesome because I just read, read, read, and I feel a whole lot better after that. Sometimes I just keep reading even when the professor tells us to stop and she talks. I’m sorry.

 I love the silent reading activities. It gives me back a piece of my day…

 Reading wants to be your friend; it wants you to relax and enjoy your time instead of always being stressed out about what’s due tomorrow and the next and so on. Silent reading should continue to be a part of everyone’s life in order to stay sane and calm as we carry through with our fully packed week. 

 Through picture books and all the activities that went with them, your artifacts, drawings, talk, reading aloud, being read to, I have truly appreciated this pack of readers. McKenna reminded me of a favorite line from Love That Do that calls out to our group of readers…“You come too.”

Keep Calm and Read On. And best to you in your future as educators.


One Reply to “Thank You Letter to the students of 341: Fall 2015”

  1. Thank you Kim, I learned so much in your class. What’s interesting is that I didn’t have to cram for tests or write long papers, like most classes require, and yet, I learned just as much if not more. Not only that, the stuff we learned was practical, we will actually be able to utilize what we learned when we become educators; silent reading, artifacts, classroom library, etc. I also liked how you ask your students their opinions about what worked and what didn’t. I can see me doing that in my classroom too, it shows students that you value their opinion, which boosts their self-esteem. Have a great winter break!


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