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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Books – Literary Works or Tools

Sometimes a book is simply fun to read. Teen Chloe gave me her copy of "I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then I’d Have to Kill You" by Ally Carter last night. Great fun, light reading, and gave us a chance to discuss if Disney will make this into a movie. (We think yes and it will be fun!) A book, not a literary work. I’m not using it as a tool for anything.

Teachers ask for books as parts of their lessons– part of the background information, the cornerstone for huge lessons, or to rip out bits and pieces to make these literary works work for them. Have you ever heard a teacher kill a book before? Some books need to be read straight through and given the chance for the author and illustrator to speak before a teacher dissects the book and turns it into a nasty lesson.

I am always amazed at my colleagues. Those school librarians out there can whip out a book for any topic imaginable. Need to teach adjectives? They have 5 with beautiful passages and can actually turn to the page for the best example of well-written phrasing. Need a book on beginning CH-sounds? They can pull out the top three published since 1951. Need a book to inspire research? How about George Washington’s Teeth? or…… What was that YA title I read this summer where the boy finds small pox scabs and has to do research to see if he is infected? I know some librarian out there like the amazing Ed Sullivan can instantly pull this title from their minds.  Colleagues, you are amazing to me! I’ll keep monitoring LM_NET for specific topics.

Maybe one of the best services we offer our faculties is demonstrating how books can be both tools and literature. With so many publishers including parts of picture books in their reading text books, they promote the idea of the book as a tool with teachable parts. Only in the school library can we maintain the integrity of the work as a whole and inspire students to discover the treasures inside each title. We don’t do that with a worksheet to count the number of 4 syllable words on the page. We do that with our love of the word and the relationship between picture and story.

What I’d like to do is offer both to my faculty. I’d like a list of the top beautiful passages from children’s novels for grades 2-4 and a list of the most inspiring pages within a picture book. Then I will intersperse entire novels and books so students can begin to identify THEIR top picks as they read, not as a teacher guides them. Hmmm. I’ve got to get busy and read.