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Please read: “The Need to Read,” by Will Schwalbe

favicon My friend Lynn emailed me “The Need to Read,” by Will Schwalbe, in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal. It is definitely worth reading.

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Excerpts

Reading is the best way I know to learn how to examine your life. By comparing what you’ve done to what others have done, and your thoughts and theories and feelings to those of others, you learn about yourself and the world around you. Perhaps that is why reading is one of the few things you do alone that can make you feel less alone. It is a solitary activity that connects you to others.

I’m reminded that reading isn’t just a respite from the relentlessness of technology. It isn’t just how I reset and recharge. It isn’t just how I escape. It’s how I engage. And reading should spur further engagement.

And here’s my favorite:

Books remain one of the strongest bulwarks we have against tyranny—but only as long as people are free to read all different kinds of books, and only as long as they actually do so. The right to read whatever you want whenever you want is one of the fundamental rights that helps preserve all the other rights. It’s a right we need to guard with unwavering diligence. But it’s also a right we can guard with pleasure. Reading isn’t just a strike against narrowness, mind control and domination: It’s one of the world’s great joys.

Source: http://j.mp/2gtt9kI (via Pocket). You can also find this article at Iserotope Extras, a weekly email digest that includes my favorite articles about race, education, and culture. Feel free to subscribe! favicon

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Check out what students are reading over Thanksgiving break

favicon My experience says that independent reading programs don’t work well unless students approach what researchers call “voluminous reading.” There’s simply not enough time in school for students to complete the 10, 20, perhaps 40 books a year necessary to transform into avid readers.

That’s why a core tenet of the Kindle Classroom Project is to let students take their Kindles home and to request books whenever they like. The KCP believes that young people should be able to read what they like, wherever and whenever they like.

This Thanksgiving break, it’s clear that students are taking advantage of this 24/7 access to reading. The book requests are streaming in, and it’s an honor to fulfill them. Here’s a taste of what students are reading this long weekend.

– Ninth grader Ricardo (Oakland, CA) is reading Library of Souls, by Ransom Riggs.

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– Eleventh grader Carlos (Oakland, CA) is reading It Calls You Back, by Luis Rodriguez.

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– Tenth grader Paulina (Oakland, CA) is reading Bronxwood, by Coe Booth.

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– Twelfth grader Monica (Oakland, CA) is reading We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart.

we-were-liars-by-e-lockhart

I wish Ricardo, Carlos, Paulina, Monica, and all 900 KCP students a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend of reading and relaxation. Thank you also to the generous supporters who have helped the program grow by leaps and bounds in 2016. favicon

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This is the 900th book in the KCP Library!

favicon Say hello to the 900th book in the Kindle Classroom Project Library!

hyperbole-and-a-half-by-allie-brosh

The book, Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh, was requested by Oakland ninth grader Steven earlier this week.

This New York Times bestseller is about being weird and awkward and having emotions. Bill Gates called the book “funny and smart as hell.” Another review likened Hyperbole to a book David Sedaris would write if he happened to know how to draw.

Steven is a fantastic reader and has great taste in books. Many ninth grade boys at Envision Academy in Oakland are “reading leaders” — in other words, avid readers who also help build the KCP Library with their astute requests.

At the center of the KCP is this ability for students to request books that they want to read. Generous KCP supporters donate money so that students can make those requests. As a result, a trust develops: Young people know that we care about their reading interests, because we make books that they want to read available to them 100% of the time.

If you’d like to learn more about the project, here’s a one-pager that describes the program. If you’d like to make a cash gift, here is an easy way to donate. Thank you! favicon

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Iserotope Extras: “The Desegregation and Resegregation of Charlotte’s Schools”

favicon Author Clint Smith of the New Yorker makes a controversial claim: that the recent police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte is connected to the community’s decision in 1999 to resegregate its schools. This article is worth your time.

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Excerpt
“The school system in Charlotte did not resegregate by accident, just as police in Charlotte did not perceive Keith Lamont Scott as a danger by accident. The country we live in is one that we have built to be this way. The cities we live in were built this way. They were court-ordered. They were signed into law. We made these choices, and now we see the consequences.”

Source: http://j.mp/2dO5cUc (via Pocket). You can also find this article at Iserotope Extras, a weekly email digest that includes my favorite articles about teaching, reading, and technology. Feel free to subscribe! favicon