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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sharing the Love of Reading with Students and Teachers - Some Examples from Hattie Deraps

With Christmas vacation approaching, I am sure many of you have holiday plans - and are hoping to find a few delicious moments to immerse yourself in that book you have been waiting months to read!  Some of you will get up early before the kids rise, others will read past midnight (because you can't put it down). and still others will steal random guilty moments when you feel you should be working on something else.  But you will all love it - and do it again!!

As teachers, we struggle everyday, trying to figure out how to engage our students in reading  the same enthusiasm, excitement, anticipation, satisfaction!

Hattie Deraps, an alternative education teacher at Mt. Blue High School, shares two strategies she has used for students...

"The Chick Lit Book CLub at Mt Blue High School has been meeting every month for the past four years. Over the years, dozens of girls and female staff members have met once per month to discuss teen issues and Young Adult Lit. This club has relied heavily on books provided by a non-profit organization called Mainely Girls. Mainely Girls provides sets of books to teen book clubs state-wide. We are indebted to them for their commitment to providing exciting reading material for our girls!

The coordinators of this club are Maggie Robinson and Hattie DeRaps. Maggie, a library aide, oversees all of the organizational work of the club, while Hattie offers an independent study to students who are looking to earn credit for running the book club. This independent study is titled "Literacy Outreach", because the girls who complete the course are truly reaching out to peers and helping to engage them in meaningful, thoughtful discussions about teen lit. Currently, there are four girls who are enrolled in this independent study. All of the girls are responsible for reading each month's selection, developing discussion questions, creating interactive discussion materials, setting up for meetings, engaging peers in discussion during meetings, and for keeping a reflective journal during the year. Over four years, there have been thirteen girls who have participated in this independent study.

This book club has been a great success at Mt Blue High School. Every year, there is more and more buzz about this club and there are new girls who join. Hopefully, this club will continue to grow and stay successful so that future MBHS students can be engaged in reading teen books and discussing issues that matter to teens."

... and colleagues.

"I don't know if I've told you about the book club that a middle school teacher and I started or not. It's for English teacher-types in our district and it's been received very well. When I started it, some of the members wanted a space online where they could chat about the books, so I added a group to the English Companion Ning called YA Book Club. I've been maintaining it online for months now and we have 92 online members. Isn't that crazycool? Maybe this something that you could write about later on next year... Just a thought!

And, you're welcome to join our group on the Ning! ... here's the address:

To read more about Hattie's classroom, go to:   Literacy and Technology Pilot, BPI and WMEC. and read about her wikis.

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