Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Reading Class

This may be the high point of my teaching career -- I'm really enjoying teaching the 2-week reading class. Luckily, I was assigned the students in the two highest levels, so we can have pretty good discussions. Some of them are English majors as well. Since it's a 2 hour class, I'm having them read for a half-hour, take a break, read for another half-hour, then the last part is devoted to discussion, journaling and other activities.
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Book bloggers, I love you more than ever because some of the fun questions we ask each other on our bookish blogs are proving useful. For example, the class and I got into a discussion last night about what we use for bookmarks. Most of them use a folded bit of note paper, but one student admitted that she just turns the corner of the page down. Although I was wincing inwardly, I recognized one of those "teaching moments" and introduced them to the term "dog-ear".

Drawing on my experience as a circulation clerk in a library, I talked about the strange things people use for bookmarks such as family photos, money, letters, movie and lottery tickets, gum wrappers, lettuce leaves and once, a condom (unused, wrapped).

(My own current bookmark is a little odd -- I started reading Public Enemies during the plane ride home. After a while, I needed a nap, but didn't have any bookmarks in my purse. I grabbed the motion sickness bag from the pocket in front of me and have been bookmarking with it ever since with satisfactory results.)



Another question I asked was: Do you try to imagine the book as a movie, or a character being played by a particular actor or actress? They all said that they did. Another thing I asked them was if they've seen a movie that was exactly the way they'd imagined it when they read the book. Most of them said that the books were usually better, but that Pride and Prejudice (the one with Keira Knightley) and Tess were perfect in that regard.

Tonight after reading, I plan to ask them about their favorite places to read. After that, I'll give them a brief overview of what our brains are actually doing when we read and the long-term benefits that we gain when books are our drug of choice. Then it will be their turn to teach the class a couple of vocabulary words they've encountered in their reading this week that were new to them.

Although we're supposed to stick with the level readers (Oxford Bookworms Series) during this class, I went shopping when I was in the US and brought back some books, graphic novels and magazines that the students might enjoy looking at during discussion time. I'll bring those in on Friday.

I've known for a month that I was going to do this class, yet I still can't help shaking my head and grinning widely. I'm actually getting paid to do this! Someone pinch me, or just give me a good whack on the head -- preferably with a paperback.

10 comments:

jenclair said...

Sounds as if you are having a great time! Love the ideas and discussions that emerge. Especially the book marks!

bkclubcare said...

Welcome back! Have fun with the class.

Tammy said...

What a great class! I wish I could participate in something like that.

Thoughts of Joy said...

That's very exciting - enjoy the booktalk! :)

Robin said...

What a great class! It would be fun to be in the class, and even more fun to teach it! Enjoy.

J.Danger said...

Sounds like a fun class!

Val said...

Wow! I want to sign up. I am inspired, as always. Keep it up.

Val

Heather J. said...

This sounds like one of the best classes ever! What fun!

Sue F. said...

The class sounds great! Wish I could be there to take it! Glad to have you back blogging, too!

Jessica (The Bluestocking Society) said...

This sounds so amazing. I would love to be in your class!