After spending a month or so on Shakespeare, it’s time to set 11th Graders free with their reading. This unit is self-explanatory in its title, but the focus changes a bit each time.
Here are the essential questions for the unit:
- What are my reading preferences, and what influenced these preferences?
- How do I change as a reader when I read different books?
- How can reading make me happy?
The unit also seeks to answer one of the three grade-wide essential questions, around the theme of change:
What causes systematic and individual change?
This unit really seeks to acknowledge that students are in very different places with both their attitudes and skills. The goal is to help them figure out where they’re at, meet them there, and help them improve.
When they arrive on the first day, students are met with the journal prompt displayed at the top of this page: What’s the last book you truly enjoyed reading? Why?
This leads into my slideshow of the Reluctant Readers Bill of Rights — which I believe is a must-share for any independent reading unit — and some discussion of my own current reading habits. Extra credit points in my heart go to any student who notices that one of those books is not in English.
Lastly, I introduce them to the idea of their “Reading Happy Place.” Is it a place? A time of day? A noise level? A state of mind? Sometimes we draw visualizations of what that place looks or feels like.
Students don’t always buy what I’m selling, at least not right away. Especially that part where the bill of rights says you have the right not to read. “What’s the catch?” They ask. “When are you going to make us do something?”
The beauty is that there is no catch. As long as they are reading and loving it, they’re doing the right thing. And if they’re not loving it, then it’s on them to find the time and place and book that inspires them.
Check out the complete unit here. I will also be writing up some activities and assessments from this unit in the coming weeks.