Tweak

It feels like it’s been awhile since I last blogged here. I have been reading a ton, but there is one book in particular that really stuck out to me: Nic Sheff’s “Tweak”.

For those of you who have not yet read this novel; here is some background:

Nic’s father actually wrote a novel titled “Beautiful Boy”, and this novel highlighted certain points in Nic’s childhood, and Nic’s battle with drug addiction. “Beautiful Boy” is written from the point of view of Nic’s father and seems to be pretty biased. “Tweak” is Nic’s story. This is written from his own point of view, and it is written as he experienced problems with drugs, alcohol, homelessness, rehabilitation, love, and sex.

From the beginning, it is obvious that Nic is a very troubled young man. He’s trying to be clean, he is trying to rebuild his relationship with his family, he is trying to keep his friends, but his addiction to meth gets the best of him. Nic’s relapse sets off a series of events in the style of a downward spiral.

I could go on about this plot line for awhile, but I would definitely spoil the novel.

I think what drew me so closely to this novel; why I felt so strongly for this, is because of my own experience with drug addiction. I personally have never struggled with an addiction, but I have been very close to several people who do. Growing up, my best friend found herself on a downward spiral of her own. A few nights of fun turned into weeks, which turned into months, and eventually years. She tried to get help, she had all the support and encouragment in the world from both me and her family. Unfortunately, it was never enough, and the drugs were always more important to her. She threw it all away, and left to continue getting high.

The events portrayed within Nic Sheff’s novel are vivd, ugly, and entirely realistic. Everyone’s case is different, and everyone who struggles with addiction all struggle in their own way. I highly recommend this novel to anyone struggling with addiction, someone close to another that is struggling, or to those who just simply want to be more informed on the matter.

Advertisements

A Bit on Teaching Reading pt. 3

When it comes to teaching reading, there are many different techniques and strategies that can appeal to a diverse student body.

Over the last few weeks we have been working on a bit of a fun project in class. We have been working on different ways and activities to get your students involved with reading in the classroom. My group in particuluar built a literary pen pal assignment where each student read a book and wrote letters back and forth with eachother communicating about that book. This activity is great for not only getting your students reading, but it also helps with comprehension, and it gets students talking about books. Getting your students talking about books is a great interest approach because it may intrugue their classmates.

There were some other great activities that were addressed such as building a classroom library, book podcasts, building book stacks, and various book clubs.

But ultimately, when it comes to teaching reading, there will always be one major question. How do you go about teaching students who struggle with reading? How do you help them? There are always going to be students who struggle with reading, or reading certain texts. They may struggle with comprehension, they may feel discouraged, or they may not have enough background knowledge to understand what is going on. It is your job as the teacher to prepare them and to encourage them when they seems to struggle. There are many different strategies out there that can help a teacher in this situation, but the important thing to remember is to persevere.

As a student myself, I have always learned the most from my encouraging and passionate teachers. Students can tell when you aren’t very interested in what your teaching, and that’ll rub off on them. They will become less interested and may even become bored. That is a major teaching fail, and it definitely something to keep in mind when it comes to teaching anything; not just teaching reading.

What Have I Been Reading?

Lately I feel as though I have been all around, up and down, and side to side with my reading. In the beginning, I was reading a lot of articles for this class, but lately I have been submerged in novels.

Recently, we were assigned a pretty open ended reading project. My group decided to explore the world of literary pen pals. We each found a pen pal, picked up a book, and build an entire presentation around the experience. My pen pal was actually my mom back in Wyoming. She was eager to help me with my school work, but she seemed less eager to pick up a book and read it with me. Originally, we were supposed to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s a super easy read that we’ve both done already. So I figured it would be easy to pick it back up and then talk about it with each other. I got about halfway through the book and my mother decides she wants to read something she has never read before instead. So instead of Harry Potter, we read Divergent. Now, I have read Divergent. It was actually for my Adolescent Literature course. I got through it fairly quickly because I already has a grasp on everything that was going on. My mom, on the other hand, took a bit more time because it was her first time.

Over all, the experience wasn’t bad. My mom and I are great communicators so the pen pal part was pretty simple and I think the entire assignment went over relatively well. Thanks to her I was able to dig a bit deeper and discuss some of the fun parts within the novel. We got to discuss what faction we thought we should be in, and what we would do if the world actually ended up being like this. I’m used to reading dystopian novels, but she isn’t, so it was refreshing to get her perspective on everything. It was like shining a new, yet wise light onto something that’s modern and that I am already familiar with. Since she liked it so much, I recommended a few similar novels to her. I’m a bit anxious to see if she’ll actually read them and what she will think.

Now that is project is over, I need some new ideas for what I want to read next.

What Have I Been Reading?

Usually, I would post another “A Bit on Teaching Reading” blog, and I would talk about the articles weve been reading in class. These last couple of weeks, we havnt gotten many articles. This means I’ve gotten a lot more time to free read, so I figured I would dedicate a post to that free reading.

8515538001_274bba651d_z

A book that has been pretty popular with our class is The Crossover by  Kwame Alexander. Everyone seemed to enjoy it quite a bit, so I took it upon myself to jump on the bandwagon. I picked it up, and I finished it within a few days. Oh my goodness, I loved it. Not only was it a light, easy read, but the characters were also relatable for the age group this novel was intended for. This is a great example of a shared reading experience that will msot likely happen in the classroom. One student will like a book and pass it on to the next. Then the next, and then the next. Soon, the book will have enough hype that there wont be a student who doesn’t HAVE to read it, just so they know what is going on.

On top of that, I also read a collective work of Edgar Allan Poe. This took me a little while longer, only because I would pick it up and read each short story in sections. Every night, before bed, I would pick up the book and read a short story before I turned the light out. It was nice because it restricted me from staying up all night and getting completely lost in a book. I have a really bad habit of doing that, and lately I have been drowning in school work. I need a good nights sleep so that I can be ready for the next day. Edgar Allan Poe is known for his dark, gothic writing. Some may even consider him to be “scary”, so you wouldn’t think he would be a good one to read before bed. Anyone who really knows me knows I love the “scary” stuff, particularly Stephen King. So I was able to finish his short stories with ease and then go to bed soundly.

Something I did notice about Edgar Allan Poe is the similarities between many of his short stories. For example, The Tell Tale Heart, and The Black Cat. I think I would like to see a professional analysis of the two, I think it would be intersting.

Anyways, for my most recent read, and I am still working on it, is: Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood by Mari Andrew. This is a graphic style novel that I would recommend to anyone in their twenties. It seems to be directed to young women, but I would also recommend it to young men. It bring to light a lot of the issues and feelings a lot of people in their twenties deal with, but it can also play a role of support to those going through these things. Trust me, being in your twenties is hard. I almost felt attacked because of how relatable the novel was at first. I love it, and I cant wait to see how it ends.

A Bit on Teaching Reading – Is Reading Natural?

As much as I love to read now, it wasn’t something that always came naturally. Growing up, I was that little girl who would get separated from the rest of the class to go do an individualized reading lesson. They tried just about everything to help me. I remember reading with the little highlighter tool, reading books with large print, even reading books with small print. Nothing really seemed to take with me and I would always really struggle. I always felt like I was lower than my peers because they could read out loud without any issues and it would always take a million years for me to get through one paragraph.

It wasn’t until I was out of elementary school, and in middle school that I really started to take to reading. Before every class period, the school as a whole would take ten minutes to free read. Everyone got to read the book of their choice, and this was probably where my love for reading really began. I liked that I had my own choice, and I wasn’t put on the spot. I discovered my own reading tastes and I didn’t have to demonstrate that to anyone but myself. I really think a majority of that success stemmed from the fact that this reading was 100% my choice. I learned what was best for me. The more I read, the better I got at it, and that’s when things started to come to me more naturally.
8515538001_274bba651d_zThere are many people out there debating whether or not reading is something that comes naturally, or if it’s something that needs to be worked and meddled with until perfected. Some say reading is about as natural as standing up and walking, while others would argue that reading is about as natural as learning to fly; it’s possible, but there are certain steps that need to be worked through in order to get there.

I don’t really know where I stand with this whole debate. I know from my own experiences that reading does not always come naturally, but I also know that everyone is different. That is how I also know that this big debate will never end. The world is full of unique individuals and they will all take to reading in a way that is unique to them. As a future teacher, I feel like this is a good mind set to take into the classroom. If I respect that not everyone is going to take to reading the same way then I can better accommodate for that.

A Bit on Teaching Reading pt. 1

A big theme that I have noticed throughout my reading for this week if the issue of getting students more involved with what they are reading. The biggest question I can probably think of here is: how do teachers get their students to actually want to read?

I have always considered myself to be an avid and passionate reader. I love to read. Plain and simple. Always have, always will. I am very aware that not everyone is the same type of reader that I am, in fact, it seems that most people aren’t too fond of reading all together. Something that I find very interesting is that everyone is tgei own uniwue type of reading. Much like a snowflake, no two reader are the same, and I absolutely love that! This is somegthing I really I really need to keep in mind for when I have a classroom of my own. All of my students are going tobe different and that something Ill need to accomidate for. Some will love to readm other not so much. Some will be quick while other will ake their time. Some of my students will love to read about war, and love, and adventure, and fantasy; while others may only read from their school text books.

As for that important question I mentioned earlier, I think there is definitely a solution to this issue as long as the educator keeps in mind the students diverse interests and individual needs.

Teaching reading in the classroom seems to be soemthing teachers are really struggling with lately. Students are not motivated to be reading and educators are not realizing that it is a flaw in our own system that is causing them to lean away from reading. The articles we read for class this week really put and emphasis on this issue. What really confuses me about it all is that certain educators are recognizing this issue, but they dont think that the issue is their fault. They may see their students as lazy and they dont change their teaching habits what so ever. There are so many ways to motivate your students to read, and there are even more ways to keep them reading.

The teachers that do see these issues are attempting to redirect their teaching habits all together. They may be transforming their classrooms into readigs workshops. They help motivate their students by letting their students read the things that they want to be readings. They are also filling up their students classroom free time with reading. An activity that I really liked was having students share what they have been reading with their classmates. This may intrigue other students and get them interesting in other books. It also adds that diversity aspect that I really enjoy.

Overall, getting your students more motivated to read takes time. Finding it and giving it. It also takes a lot of observation and patience from the teacher. Thats the type of educator I aim to be. I want to adjust myself to fit my student needs, and I want to see real progress in my students learning and reading!

Summer Tiiiimmmmeeee!!!

2498786282_65542d9eeb_z

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am for summer break. Im excited for the long summer days, going on adventures, spending time with my family, and finally getting some much needed sunlight. Every summer is different and I look forward to seeing what this summer has to offer me.

Something that never changes, even in the summer, is the fact that I have too long of a summer reading list. It never fails, I always go into the summer thinking that I’m going to get a ton of reading done, and I never do. You see, im very outdoorsy so I thrive in the summertime. I love to go hiking and rock climbing. My favorite days are spent at the lake or submerged underneath a canopy of trees without cell phones reception. I know what your thinking, there is plenty of opportunity to sit and read in these situations, I just rarely do. Instead of picking up a book and getting lost in the pages, I prefer listening to my friend’s stories and getting lost in laughter instead.

This summer I’m going to try and be different. I’ll find more opportunities to sit down with a book because honestly, I think it could add to my summer experience. Instead of reading novels filled with teen angst, I will read books full of adventure to help put my adventurous soul at ease. It wont be hard for me to find books about travelers and wondering souls. Books like Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, come to mind, or Jon Krakauer’s Into The Wild. 

While doing some research, I found a website that will help me in my search for adventure books! 13 Travel Books That Will Give You Serious Wanderlust 

The goal for my summer is to get through all 13 books.

Anyways, just one more blog post and I’ll be done for the semester. I have really enjoyed reading all of your guy’s posts and getting to know several of you through book club and twitter! I hope you all have a wonderful and adventurous summer!