This semester, and particularly this YA Lit course, has given me so much to think about as I move into the English classroom. Before, I did not make the conscious effort to seek out Young Adult or Middle Grade books; sure, I might find one by chance that interested me, but I wasn’t exploring the genres intentionally or nearly enough. This course has taught me just how important this genre is to young readers, but also to those of us who want to teach young readers! These texts are so rich in ideas and language, something I overlooked before I was required to read two books a week from the genre.
I also learned a lot about my reading life from this course. I can realistically and easily finish one book a week, but that never feels like enough now. I have proven to myself I am capable of reading at least two books a week, and I don’t want to lose that momentum even though the course is ending. With that in mind, I have a to be read list on Goodreads that is quite long. Some weeks were harder to get through than others, and when I struggled to make time to read, I leaned heavily on audiobooks that I could listen to while I ran errands, walked my dog, or got dressed.
As I look ahead at my own career in teaching, I want to bring with me this hunger for reading I have developed (even greater than what it was before). Before, I read for myself; I was always excited to expand on my own repertoire of books. Now, though, I think more about how my reading life impacts my students. It is important that I engage with the texts that I want them to engage with, exploring and harvesting them for all they are worth in the eyes of young people.
Moving forward in this program, I want to find ways that I can better incorporate these texts into lessons, as opposed to thinking of them exclusively as titles for my classroom library. I want to find all the ways these amazing books can be used to develop my student’s reading lives as well as their writing lives, and in turn, further develop my own.