One of the things I am most looking forward to over summer vacation is having time to read. While I already have no less than ten books currently on my night stand, I am excited to see what everyone else is reading. I believe that book selection is a window to someone's soul and it is always fun to find a cyber "kindred spirit" (Anne of Green Gables anyone?).
For almost twelve years, I have been in a book club of ten amazing women that, at one point, all taught together at the same elementary school. Over the years, most of us have moved away to different schools or different jobs but we still faithfully meet for dinner, wine, and a book discussion EVERY month. To say that I love these women is a gross understatement!
We just finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy and I appreciated hearing all of their different perspectives. I never jumped on the Harry Potter or Twilight trend and I had my doubts about whether I would truly get taken with Katniss and Peeta and Gale. But, I did, and much sleep was lost as a result of me not being able to put the books down. They reminded me of the short story "The Lottery" that I read in a high school AP English class. I am so glad that I don't live in Katniss's world but I am afraid that there are more similarities between our worlds than I would want to acknowledge.
On a lighter note, I have used Mem Fox's books in my classroom for years but had never read the book she wrote for parents and teachers. I just finished it two weeks ago and now I want to buy copies to give as baby shower gifts for new parents and college graduation gifts for education majors. It was SO good and exactly what I needed to hear as I think of my role in teaching my own girls to love reading.
On My Nightstand:
I have a lot of friends who are currently homeschooling or whose children are enrolled in private schools based on a classical education model. This is all so foreign to me but, in recent conversations, I have become more interested in learning about some of the philosophy and methods that have not been included in the realm of my own education experience.
I know I have so much to learn and so much more room for growth but one sign to me that I am maturing as an educator is that I have come to believe that there are so many "right" ways to teach. I used to believe that there was just one "best practice". Why else would they call it "BEST"? However, after observing and coaching so many different types of teachers, I am slowly coming to believe that good teaching is being responsive to our learners and being willing to think through new AND old ideas.
Some of the books suggested to me are...
Both When Children Love to Learn by Elaine Cooper and For the Children's Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay are based on the teaching and writing of educator and philosopher Charlotte Mason (1842-1923). I can't believe that I have never heard about her before now! Everything that I have read about her thus far is so inspiring and spot on with my own inklings about children and learning.
A more familiar writer/researcher in the education field is Dr. Richard Gentry. I have read a lot of his articles and a few of his books over the years as I worked on my Word Study block. I am reading this book mainly with my girls in mind but I am excited to continue growing in my understanding of early literacy in general.
I heard an interview with the author of this book on NPR a few weeks ago and was fascinated. I am too conflicted and indecisive to be a very political person but I love engaging others in discussions about their own political viewpoints. I am #13 on the waiting list at the library so hopefully everyone else will read fast!
And because two married educators cannot afford to buy all new furniture, we have decided it's time to improve our dumpster-diving, garage sale-shopping skills. I've always thought Lara Spencer was cute and fun but, when I heard about her penchant for thrift on Good Morning America, I really became a fan! Of course, in true frugal fashion, I am waiting on hold for this one from the library too!
Last one...for now! The Paris Wife is the summer book pick for my book club. I am already about 1/3 of the way into it and it is really interesting. It is written from the perspective of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife Hadley. Isn't that a great name? This book makes me want to read some of Hemmingway's books as well as more of the works written around that time period.
This list still feels so incomplete because it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of my nightstand (literally)! You know what I am really missing? A good Spanish novel! Any suggestions?
I can't wait to visit Jessica's Linky and get some more ideas! It's going to be a GREAT SUMMER! Happy reading!