Friday, October 22, 2010

Thank you to my teachers....and YA Books

I was thinking the other day about all of the wonderful teachers that I had that truly encouraged me to read.

First there was my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Buck – who was also a good family friend so I had to mind my p’s and q’s. I still remember her telling us to just keep reading and we would get better and better. Little did I know that A Duck is a Duck would have such an impact on my life.

Then there was my 5th grade teacher, Mr. Galbraith. I think I had just a leeetle bit of a crush on the man so was anxious to please. Since he was a man who pushed reading I was all over it like it was the best thing since sliced bread. And I’ve learned that it IS! lol

Sixth grade took me to Mr. Sweeney and though the man had grey hair I think back now and think he was probably only in his mid 50’s, if that. He was kind and patient and had a love of reading as well which showed me, at that time, that there was something other than boys around.

Mr. Campbell was my 8th grade social studies teacher and he really nailed home that wonderful insight…knowledge can be found in books. *gasp* It’s brilliant isn’t it? I know. But even to a girl who had been reading on a regular basis it truly was a light bulb moment.

Though I had many great teachers after that none of them pushed reading like those four had and I have to thank them for all of their pushing.

So did you have any teachers that impacted your love of reading? Who were they?

Speaking of reading…

My oldest daughter is now in Junior High School or middle school (depending on where you live) and much to my delight they are really pushing reading. In elementary school they were required to read 20 minutes a night and turn in Read Sheets every month but until her 6th grade year I don’t think any of her teachers really pushed reading.

Not only is her school pushing reading they actually have a 30 minute period set aside every day after lunch so that the kids can read (called S.U.R.F. aka silent uninterrupted reading for fun). Yes, it’s required, and I’m sure some kids, including my own, scoff at having to participate and don’t really think it’s fun, but what a great idea.

Her English class also requires her to read and then take AR (accelerated reading) quizzes after she finishes. (My daughter doesn’t quite grasp that she should be reading her AR book for S.U.R.F. but that’s a whole other subject) Anyway, there’s a whole boatload of books that they have quizzes for but unfortunately none of the books that she wants to read are on the list! Very frustrating.

So I want to pick your brains. I need names of good YA books (I don’t normally read YA) that aren’t sexually in-depth if you know what I mean (she’s only 12.5), that you would recommend. I’m trying to compile a list and then I can see if any of them are on “the list”.

Thanks and Happy Reading!


Rowena said...

Woot! I'm loving that my daughter's school is really pushing reading as well, she hasn't really gotten into reading until now and I'm totally loving that we have reading in common now. If you ask me, IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Some really good YA series that my daughter and niece enjoyed are:

The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull (the author is actually my friend's cousin which is why this series made it to my radar)
The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

There are more but I'll let you start with those. There's like 4-5 books in each of those series I believe.

Tam said...

Huh. I'm not sure I have many good ideas. Kristen was mostly reading Harry Potter and Nancy Drew I think. LOL She's not a big reader, you'd think she would be given her mother but .... She reads a bunch of those vampire books and she likes ghost/horror books a bit. But most of them are probably a bit too advanced for your daughter.

Oh, I know, a book called Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson. It's sort of a buddy girl story about three teen girls who spend the summer on a peach farm and become friends. There is some talk about drinking and sex, but it's not graphic and they are 16 or 17. There are two follow-ups, The Secret of Peaches and Love and Peaches which follow the girls as they go off to university which may have more adult themes. It says Grade 8 and up. Maybe that's too old. Sigh. It's a hard age.

I don't remember any of my teachers encouraging me to read in school. Well, beyond the class material. For some reason, in a family of non-readers I was the weirdo. I read tons of Nancy Drew (grew up in a small community with no library or book stores - yes, they exist LOL) and then I had an older neighbor who introduced me and a friend to her bodice ripper collection when I was about 17. Waaaahhh. Addicted. LOL

Dr J said...

Now Tracy, I can remember when you were in 4th grade that reading wasn't you big thing. Glad to know that you moved on from there. My teacher of note was my ninth grade English teacher who loved all things having to do with the English language, especially great fiction. So she introduced me to Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights and I know I read some George Sand and other Austin novels. I know I also inhaled the Nancy Drew books as well as the Sue Barton, RN series. I know that some of those books are still available and very readable for junior high kids.

Dr J said...

Comment #2: Don't forget the Reader's Digest condensed books. I don't know how I would have read so many books in my jr high/ high school days if it hadn't been for them. As you know, I still have several shelves of them in my living room.

Chris said...

Hmm. Probably Mrs. Nichols, my kindergarten teacher, who gave me library passes while she was teaching everyone else to read - apparently I was very bored and kept sighing with great drama. :)

Um. I don't really read YA...

Tracy said...

Rowena - I wish more teachers would push reading but they just don't.
Thanks for the recs on those books - we'll check them out. :)

Tam - My oldest isn't a big reader either so it's hard to find something that she'll stick with. She liked boys A LOT *sigh* so I thought romance might be a good choice for her but there ain't no way she's getting into my library! lolol OMG can you imagine?
Thanks for the Peaches rec. I'm making note of that one too.
My mother was and still is an avid reader so I obviously got it from her.
For me at age 13 it was the Harlequins. Annnnndd she's hooked on romance. lol

Dr. J. You notice I skipped 4th grade, right? Although I remember A Duck is a Duck like it was yesterday (that's so sad) it didn't mean that I wanted to read! lol But Mrs. Buck DID push the reading.
I'll have to have a look at those shelves for her. :)

Chris - You? Sighing with great drama? I can't imagine. lol I can picture the mini-Chris now. :)
Yeah, I don't read YA either so it's hard to know what's out there, what's good and what's not too sex filled.

Tam said...

Huh, I wrote this other post but it didn't show up. Must have screwed up the word veri.

I was going to recommend Steve Berman's Vintage: A Ghost Story. It's m/m but beyond a kiss and a bit of groping during a sleepover there's not much. It's more the ghost story which is creepy but not gory scary. Kristen read it when she was 14 and enjoyed it.

Tracy said...

tam - I have that one! I haven't read it but I can read it and then pass it on - or vice versa. lol Thanks!

Rory G said...

I know it has gone out of fashion but my daughter really enjoyed the Twilight Books - they are better than the movies. I started reading them just so I would know what she was reading and I also enjoyed them. There is a little romance but it is relatively clean. She also enjoys Jodi Picoult and has read the Tenth Circle,the story does revolve around a rape and the family fallout related to that. She has also read Burned by Ellen Hopkins.

Anonymous said...

I have a sister this age. Finding books for her is hard too.
Here's a few she's liked -
Robin McKinley's books - fairy tale retellings, cute and funny
Gail Carson Levine's books - same
Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - a classic and still one of my favorites.
Maybe the Anne of Green Gable books? Chronicles of Narnia?
Another great one is the Scarlet Pimpernel. It's such a fabulous love story. I still get all swoony over it.
Honestly, I have a hard time figuring out what's good for that age. I was a voracious reader from a very early age, so by middle school I was working my way through the Shakespeare comedies. I know most 12-year olds would have no interest in that, though.

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