One of the reasons I became a teacher was to share my love of reading and literature with others. I’m an avid reader and try every day to instill that same passion for reading in my students. While every year there are fantastic new books, and my students’ book preferences are constantly changing, there are some classics from my childhood that I can’t help but share each and every year.
One book I share with my fourth grade students every year is Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. I usually start the year with this one as the main character, Peter, is also in fourth grade. Every year my students crack up at Peter’s younger brother Fudge’s antics (they especially love that Fudge calls Peter, “Peetah”). Kids of all ages can relate to the things poor Peter puts up with from his younger brother, Fudge, and his annoying neighbor, Sheila. I remember Judy Blume being one of my favorite authors as a child. Without fail every year after reading aloud Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, my students run to the library to check out more books by Judy Blume.
The Goosebumps books by R.L. Stein are favorites every year. I have a rather large collection of this spooky series. These are also books that I remember loving and reading as a child. While I wish I could say the same for Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children, and The Babysitter’s Club, I just can’t seem to get my kids excited about those series. I try every year telling them how much I adored them, but they just don’t hold the same appeal to today’s generation as a good old ghost story does.
Choose Your Own Adventure Books are some of my absolute favorites from school. I remember several of my teachers owning the entire series and I would devour them like candy. I loved that one story could take you so many different places. I’m not shy to admit that sometimes while reading I would back track and change a previous choice if I didn’t like where I was headed, but that was part of the fun. My students usually have never had experience with these when I introduce them. I love to read them aloud and have them vote as a class the direction in which we will go. It only takes a few to have them asking for more. One of the neat things that I have recently discovered (thanks to my addiction to Pinterest) is Inklewriter (http://www.inklestudios.com/inklewriter/for-teachers). Inklewriter is an online Web 2.0 tool that allows you to write your own interactive story similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure. You publish it online and can even save your stories in progress. I can’t wait to share this tool with my students and see what Choose Your Own Adventure stories they write.
I encourage you all to read aloud some of your favorite childhood books to your students or children. Even though they are old, good stories remain just that- good stories, and passing on the passion for reading is something we should all do.
Cathlin Shahriary is a fourth grade teacher in Irving, Texas. She has worn many hats in her 7 years of teaching including: first grade, GT, and bilingual teacher. She and her husband live in Flower Mound, Texas with their two cats and dog. When she’s not teaching, she’s volunteering with the Humane Society of Flower Mound or reading. Last summer she started a book blog as a place where she and her fellow teachers can share amazing books with their students at http://yourteacherreads.blogspot.com/. You can also follow her class on Twitter @shahriarysclass.