I had a lot of homework to catch up on this weekend.
I’ve been taking classes for a while to earn a certificate in Children’s Literature from Penn State University. It’s a much more demanding set of online classes than others I have taken, and even though I have cursed the workload many times over the course of the program, I do enjoy the readings and topics covered.
I had to laugh when I read one of the assignments I had to complete this week because it sounded exactly like what we are asking students to do in reading workshop.
In your testimonial, tell us what you liked about the book and what you disliked. Tell us about any puzzles or questions the book raised for you and note any patterns in the novel or connections. Good testimonials are more about telling us your response to the book and less about retelling the story.
My testimonial was on the book Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu. I approached reading the book differently because I knew I would have to write about my ideas about the book, not, as the instructor said, just retell it. Because I was reading this way, I got so much out of the book, more than I would have if I had read it in the way I usually read. I tend to be a plot junkie, reading simply to find out what happens next. This time I had strategies (yes, those upper level reading workshop strategies) that helped me slow down and let the moments of the book that are supposed to hit hard hit me hard.
If you have not read this book, it should go to the top of your must read list if you like reworked fairy tales, fantasy, and well written coming-of-age stories. A great review, by my favorite children’s librarian (after Barb M., of course) can be found here.