When I first saw the meme Teach Mentor Texts created for April, I didn't think Iwas going to participate. I've always said I wasn't a big fan of rereading. However, when I reflected over this past week's rereading, I realized how important rereading is to teaching and how important it is to value kids' desires to reread. Kids reread all the time. I used to think it was because they didn't realize how many wonderful books there are out there or didn't want to come out of their comfort zones, and I think that is the case sometimes, but honestly, I think many of them reread their beloved favorites because they see something new every time! That's something I could learn. It dawned on me this week that not only did I miss some important symbolism in one of my read alouds the first time I read it (it took a student to point it out to me), but that I found a new purpose for an old favorite, and the new purpose didn't occur to me until three-fourths through my rereading of it. Now I'm excited to do some rereading this month and months to come. I'm still driven to read lots of new books, but now I won't avoid rereading some old favorites, or maybe ones that I didn't appreciate much the first time, but have been hearing other people tout them enough to think maybe I missed something about them the first time around.
One thing I've always been afraid of about rereading favorites is that I won't like it as much the second time around. I think sometimes books have a time and place, and you love them because of the age you were and what you were going through at the time. Have you ever felt that way? One of the books I feel that way about is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells, I book I loved when I read it in my early thirties. I've never reread it, and it remains one of my favorite memories of reading.
Here are the books I reread this week:
bullying, character-development, character-motivation, divorce-or-separation, family, fantasy-science-fiction, grandparents, great-read-aloud, read-aloud, reread, symbolism, theme
Reread. I finished this book for the fourth time aloud. My last class got to hear the ending on Friday. Even after it being the fifth time to read it and finish it, I STILL got tears in my eyes. What an amazing work of art this book is. This kids yelled at me at the end, "Noooooo!" It can't be over! We want more!" What more could you want from a book? Originally read 2/15/12 - This is a wonderfully told story from the point of view of a gorilla, Ivan, who has been kept at the Big Top Mall and V...more Reread. I finished this book for the fourth time aloud. My last class got to hear the ending on Friday. Even after it being the fifth time to read it and finish it, I STILL got tears in my eyes. What an amazing work of art this book is. This kids yelled at me at the end, "Noooooo!" It can't be over! We want more!" What more could you want from a book? I'm planning a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo in late April where we will hold our Parent/Student Book Club over the book. I can't wait! Originally read 2/15/12 - This is a wonderfully told story from the point of view of a gorilla, Ivan, who has been kept at the Big Top Mall and Video Arcade for so long, he's forgotten what it means to be a silverback. His best friends are Bob, the dog, and Stella, the elephant. When baby elephant, Ruby, joins them, they rethink what it means to be in their domain/cage, far away from others of their kind. Julia, the caretaker's daughter, befriends the animals and connects with Ivan through art. Mac, the owner, is a complicated antagonist - he's not all bad. What's amazing about the writing is that it's so simple and sparse, but incredibly poignant, and in parts, funny. The story is a cross between Water for Elephants and Charlotte's Web - it captures the complicated relationship between people and animals without being sappy or didactic. I had three copies of it since I knew it was being talked about as a Newbery contender, so I'm giving them out right away - one to a fifth grader who's writing a story from the point of view of a manatee.