Slice of Life 12: Another day, another book

File Mar 11, 7 49 48 PM

We just finished our second full day of our Read-a-Thon, and so far, my combined four classes of 78 students have finished reading 29 books. Not bad at all, especially with five more days to go. Most students have set a goal of finishing at least one book, so as a group, we’re well underway. (I also remind myself that what’s important is the quality of their reading, and not the quantity. 🙂 )

readingAs I looked up from my own reading today (just finished Period 8 by Chris Crutcher), I could see many strudents deeply engaged in their books, and I’m reminded of a quote (at the right) that I came across on Pinterest a few days ago. Here we were, twenty or so individuals together in the same space. But as I looked at their faces, I knew they weren’t all here, of course. They were somewhere else, some place else.

It’s never felt so good to have a classroom full of students not paying attention to me.

Each day, students have also been bringing in their favorite lines from their reading. I got the idea from Epic Reads, which has a nice collection of quotes from YA lit. Though many of their “Quotes of the Day” depend on their original context to fully appreciated, many of the lines students brought in could easily stand on their own.

“Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have to be satisfying. It is not how much money we make that ultimately makes us happy between 9 and 5.” – Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell

“There is all this time between when the cracks start to open and when we finally fall apart. And it’s only in that time that we can see one another, because we can see out of ourselves through our cracks and into others through theirs.” – Paper Towns, John Green

“But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from here. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” – Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chobsky

“There are times when it’s easier to fool yourself than swallow some jagged piece of reality.” – Help for the Haunted, John Searles

Still others were wonderful for the interest they peaked:

“I wasn’t sure exactly what it was, but I felt that when it came to God, there was a broken promise in there somewhere.” – The Fifth Wave, Rick Yancey

“No more briefs. No more idea fairy. And most of all, there was no more waiting.” – No Easy Day, Mark Owen

“He had known, before anyone said the words, that I was already dead.” – The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold

“I knew the way lost hopes could be dangerous, how they could turn a person into someone they never thought they’d be.” – Tell the Wolves I’m Home, Carol Rifka Brunt

“He looked at me and smiled reassuringly and said, ‘Everything’s going to be okay,’ because that’s what I wanted him to say and that’s what you do when the curtain is falling—you give the line that the audience wants to hear.” – The Fifth Wave, Rick Yancey

“Everything’s closing in. It’s like I got to work out my story first, and fast. It’s like I’ve only got one more chance of remembering it.” – The Killing Woods, Lucy Christopher

And then there was this line of characterization which felt just about perfect:

“[He] was so relentlessly enthusiastic about the world that he has trouble imagining the possibility that other people will be bored by what he’s saying.” – We Were Liars, E. Lockhart

I think I will have students use iMovie to create similar videos of “notable quotes” when we’re finished. Perhaps we could even play one or more of them videos on our school’s TV channel. As much as I’m enjoying the reading that’s happening within my classroom walls, I can’t help wonder how I can take this love for reading out into the halls and beyond. How can we make the reading we’re doing more visible?

I’m still working on this…

slice of lifeThis post is part of the “Slice of Life” series, organized by the teachers at Two Writing Teachers, whose goal is to give teachers a place to write and reflect. This March, more than 250 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even some students), visit


  1. I could feel the energy – reading together and sharing does that. Love your imovie idea, too – that way each kid gets a copy of this reading marathon to keep and remember. Perfect.


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