In Ms. Gati’s 6th grade reading class, we follow a strict reading diet. This is in an effort to facilitate healthy growth of our thinking and schema. Favorite or “default” genres, authors, and topics are put into the category of “doughnuts” and “pizza,” while challenge genres, authors, and topics are our “broccoli.”
Earlier this year I shared with my students that for me science fiction is a “doughnut” genre and Rick Riordan is a definite “pizza” author. I decided that in order to lead by example, I would participate in my challenge to them: read three “green veggie” genres, authors, or topics in between each of my favorite ones.
So far, it’s been a bit of a challenge! As readers I think our natural inclination is to pick up books that have familiar aspects. My students have found that in reading different genres, they have been able to extend their thinking about certain themes. They have noticed that topics and lessons transcend genres and have been able to draw some very insightful conclusions.
As a group we have seen ourselves grow. In the beginning, we all abandoned far more books than we do now. I think we were afraid of trying something new. We didn’t like the idea of powering into a text that we would have previously thought of as boring or not interesting.
I try to check in with my students as often as possible to make sure that they are reading a broad range of text. In turn, they check in with me. It has gotten to a point where they insist that I leave the book I’m reading on my desk each week so that they can inspect it for genre, author, and topic. I have had to sneak a few science fiction books in on my Nook to avoid being scolded!
Thus, in an effort to hold up my end of the bargain I have moved into a genre that I rarely read, realistic fiction. The Bracelet by, Roberta Gately is a book that deals in current events. Not only is this book “green veggies,” but it was also written for adults (I typically read YA). My students were so proud!
At the close of this post, I have a question and a challenge for you:
Question: What is your reading junk food? What is your green veggie?
Challenge: Next book you choose – let it be something outside of your comfort zone. Balance your reading life, it’s challenging and fun