Minding My Gap

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Maybe it’s because I’m reading more blogs and tweets this summer, but I have been thinking a lot about what I’m reading and what I’m recommending (and what I’m not.)  In this June post from School Library Journal, Reading Nonfiction for Pleasure | On Common Core, the authors talk about how non-fiction is underrepresented on summer reading lists.  Ryan M. Hanna in his Reflections post on Nerdy Book Club discusses how teachers who reflect on their various reading lives (how they’ve progressed to the readers they have become) can help their students make better book choices.  Here’s part of my comment in response to Matt’s post:

“Right now I have an entire box full of fiction that I brought home from my library for summer reading. I had every intention of bringing home some non-fiction, and biographies, and graphic novels, but my box was already full!”

As I reflected (an read comments from Matt) I realized that I have a huge reading gap.  I love children’s fiction.  I love young adult fiction.  I love fiction in general.  Everything else I read when I get to it.  Of course… I never get to it.  (There’s just so much good fiction!)  I’m guilty of not recommending many genres (non-fiction, biographies, graphic novels) not because there are not amazing works out there, but because I don’t know it well enough to share.

I suggested this challenge:

“How about this challenge? What 5 books are on your “I Know I Should Read This But I’d Rather Clean the Cat’s Smelly Litter Box” list? OK… its not that I don’t want to read, these I really do, but as the saying goes… “so many books, so little time…” With a choice between these and a fiction book, I know what I’m going to choose.”

I agree… maybe the title of the challenge is a little harsh… How about the “Mind the Gap” Challenge.

Here’s my MTG list (and I’m completely embarrassed by this list…):

  • Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm
  • The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull
  • George Washington, spymaster by Thomas B. Allen
  • Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti
  • Written in Bone: Buried Lives of Jamestown and Colonial Maryland by Sally M. Walker

My goal for the remainder of the summer is to not only keep up with my fiction, but to mind my reading gap.  The MTG Challenge will be to read all of the books on my list (and then some.)  Look forward to some Summer Reading MTG posts in the future.

What titles do you know you should read, but keep pushing to the bottom of your stack? What’s on your MTG list? Are you up for the MTG challenge?

5 responses »

      • I finally read Babymouse and loved it! She is the perfect balance of sarcasm and legend-in-her-own-mind! What a great character! I also read Out of Boneville (Bone Series by Jeff Smith) and The Stonekeepers Secret (Amulet Series by Kazu Kibushi). So… I’m making a small amount of headway but I just haven’t had time to post about them yet 🙂

      • I just saw this. I have the students look at their genre tallies and then make a goal of increasing the totals in certain genres. I display my reading notebook and discuss my gaps. I write my goal in front of students and then post it. I have a half-sheet paper, with the image of a “Mind the Gap” sign for a subway and the students write their goals. We do weekly checks after the New Year to see if they are making progress.

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