On the first day of school on Thursday, August 15, I introduced myself to my sophomores through a visual reading biography. I displayed it on my SmartBoard and briefly talked about each book. My most influential (and favorite) professor in college introduced me to One Hundred Years of Solitude. I devoured all the Ramona Quimby books as a kid. My second grade teacher, Miss Rice, read Charlotte’s Web aloud to us in 2nd grade, and I’ve reread it on more than one occasion. The funniest book I read over the summer was Jim Gaffigan’s Dad is Fat. And one of my favorite YA authors is A. S. King. I think my students quickly caught on that I loved books and reading, and that I would expect them to be readers in Pre-AP English 2 with me. I wanted to use this assignment as a way for my students to start thinking of themselves as readers.
I told my students that they too would be creating visual reading biographies. This was the first homework of the year: tell me about yourself as a reader. I did not supply a rubric for this assignment, but I did provide these guidelines:
- Use plain 8.5 x 11 computer paper
- List your name on the poster
- Choose 3-5 categories and label them on the paper
- Find images of the books or create your own (a lightning bolt for the Harry Potter books works)
The reading categories:
- Book I’ve reread
- Book from my childhood
- Book I want to read
- Book I read this summer
- Favorite series
- Favorite book
- Favorite author
- Book I wish more people knew about
- Book I was surprised I liked
- Book recommended to me
- Book I like more than the movie
- Book I like less than the movie
- Book I abandoned or struggled to finish
- Popular book I haven’t read
(Notice I did not encourage my students to be negative. Least favorite book, author, and series were not listed as choices. This did not stop one of my students from sharing his least favorite book.)
The second day of school, a few students already had their posters ready. This was a Friday, and the assignment was not due until Monday. I kept their posters, so they wouldn’t lose them. On Monday, almost every student had their poster, and we took time in small groups to share our reading histories. This built community and reinforced that all students were readers at one time if they currently weren’t. Then every student picked one book from their poster and quickly shared it (along with their name) with the class.
By parent night, I had put up all visual reading biographies on the front wall of my classroom. For this blog post, I used pixlr to edit the posters to remove the students’ last names. I hope you enjoy their posters!
How do your students share their reading lives with their classmates?