A Bookish Summer: Best School Reads

School is out for the summer over here, but that doesn’t stop us from reading, or from talking about books! Welcome to the halfway point of the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. At the bottom of this post is a schedule so you can catch up on any posts you missed.

Today we are discussing the very best books we had to read for school.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

I only remember reading two books for school. The others I sparknoted or BS’ed my way through the book reports. They were The Outsiders by  S. E. Hinton and Animal Farm by George Orwell and although they were both superb, I’m still quite obsessed with Animal Farm. I had no idea a book could be that awesome, when I hated reading at that time. I loved that a book could say one thing and mean another and just have a darker, twisted agenda than ever expected. That was the first book discussion I ever participated in during class and I still remember getting enthusiastic because of all the different ways people interpreted scenes and meanings.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

One of the benefits of being homeschooled was that I got to choose what I read, or at least choose how fast I read things or in which order. Basically, we had this “Master Reading List” to go through, and as soon as I finished one I could go right onto the next one. I loved to read, and the bookshelves at my house were always full of classics and obscure books from the early 1900’s, or from the Victorian era. But as far as assigned reading, I would have to go with one of the books I read in college, for a class on The Life And Works of Jane Austen. Yep, I got to read romance novels for one whole quarter! My favorite out of that was Persuasion. Just the simple, straightforward protagonist, Anne, whose only goal was to do right by everybody and not to meddle with other people, and who got blamed for a whole lot… I really connected with her on many different levels, and I just enjoyed that novel immensely. So much, in fact, that I wished to give it more adaptations, as has been done with Pride and Prejudice over and over again. I have a contemporary adaptation, as well as a dark fantasy mashup that I hope to write someday!

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

By far it has to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This book really touched me, and is, in part, responsible for me becoming a writer. It was so raw, and powerful. I felt like I was there with her. I’ve always been interested in history too so it fascinated me to read about the details of that time. I truly believe that everyone should read this book.

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

My favorite book from high school was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We were supposed to read it during freshman year, but we ran out of time. We’d already paid for our copies though, so they were given to us anyway. Funnily enough, I hated the book the first time I tried to read itI couldn’t get interested in the story at all. But I picked it up again some time in junior or senior year and immediately loved it. The story was suddenly powerful and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not sure why it failed to click with me the first time, but I’m so glad I tried again!

Two Cities

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I had a heck of a time with this. I honestly struggled. The Diary of Anne Frank, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Lord of the Flies how do you pick just one? I mean all of them influenced my reading so much. And Anne Frank made me question my pride in my German Heritage (luckily I found out that we immigrated before WWI so…) but having to pick one, I went with A Tale of Two Cities. With characters like Madam Defarge, Dr. Mannette, Sydney, and Charles that just grip you. And how amazing like a reverse Prince and the Pauper… I don’t want to spoil it so.. But this book made me realize that romance can exist in a book and not make it mushy and icky. Which is now why I write romance lol.

 

I have a BA in English so I read a lot of books over the years. Einstein’s Dreams was one we read in high school and it really stuck with me. In grade 3 we read The BFG by Roald Dahl. In university it would have been The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

School doesn’t bring up the best of memories all the time – the work, the boring hours spent in a classroom, bullies, bologna sandwiches, but maybe there’s a silver lining in there somewhere. What were your favourite teacher-assigned books? And don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour.

bookish summer 1

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School Visits

Studies show that children learn best when they are fully engaged. More and more schools are inviting visitors to talk about different subjects. My daughter’s class had a visit from a former member of the school board. He taught them about ice fishing, the parts of the fish, and how to cook fish. He brought a freshly caught fish to school to show them. She talked about this for days.

During I Love To Read month they had a local radio announcer come and read to the school. Last year they had two football players from the Blue Bombers come down to read.

Math, Science, and Literacy are a lot harder to get excited about than Art or Music. That’s why these visitors are so important.

As a local author I love visiting schools to share my books, and my love of the written word. I offer different reading packages for different age groups and different needs.

Basic Readings: I have books for all grade levels from pre-4 to Grade 12 (Senior 4). At a reading I read. That simple! For younger kids I read all of one or even both of my picture books and let them ask questions and tell me stories as young kids love to do. With grade 3+ I read excerpts of a grade appropriate story and ask questions to get them engaged. What do they think will happen? Questions about setting and character. And I let them ask their questions. These last roughly 30-45 minutes, depending on how many questions they have.

Q&A Sessions: These focus a little less on the reading and more on the questions. I encourage teachers to brainstorm questions with their students ahead of time. I answer questions about the writing process (brainstorming, writing, editing, and publishing), my own creative process (where I get my ideas, where I find my covers, my writing schedule, etc), the marketing side of being a writer, and even some basic personal questions about myself. This can take 30-60 minutes depending on the questions, and the teacher’s needs.

Basic Writing Workshop: Teachers should schedule at least a full period for this (40-65 min) or more depending on the size of the class. I go over all the basics of writing: character, setting, plot, outlining, writing, editing, project length, publishing … I engage the students with short writing prompts and encourage them to share what they write. This is a great introduction to a creative writing unit.

In-Depth Writing Workshop: Teachers should schedule three-four full periods roughly a week apart for this workshop. In the first session I go over things like character, setting, plot, brainstorming, outlining, and the first draft. I go over some writing prompts and answer questions. The students then have a week to work on their project. In the second session we go over the editing process in detail. If teachers send the first drafts ahead to me I can return them to the students with a critique (don’t worry, I’m gentle!). The students then have a week to self and peer edit their projects. In the third session we have the chance to share our works in progress and we talk about polishing and publishing. I have a package of ideas for the teacher that goes over various options for putting the stories together in a book – anything from using the comb binding machine to duotangs to a professionally bound book. A fourth visit can be arranged a week or two later to reveal the finished project.

So far I have only done in class visits but I would love to expand to doing Skype visits as well. We have smart boards in the schools and this sounds like a great way to make use of them. I live in southern Manitoba in Canada and I’m willing to travel a little to visit schools in a wide area around me. Anyone interested in more information or booking a visit can contact me through the form on the blog or at my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/schreyerauthor.