My 8th graders are making me happy again. We started reading a novel, The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, last week. The book is 374 pages long, and so in order to finish it by the end of the year, I’ve been assigning about 40 pages of reading per class (they have class every other day, so they have 2 nights to complete this reading).
I was really excited to start the book, because I love teaching novels, and I knew that given the exciting plotline of the book, I could hook them in.
I was also nervous about it. When I taught The Hunger Games to my 7th graders last fall, even though the kids loved the book, many of them still fell behind on the readings and would fail my reading quizzes—even when I basically gave out all of the answers before beginning the quiz.
Tonight, grading my first set of 8th grade reading quizzes, I am pleasantly surprised to find that it seems all but 1 or 2 (in a class of 28) seem to have done the reading and passed the quiz. (Even better—we didn’t talk about the book at all before I handed out the quiz). HOORAY!!
What’s more…the kids are addicted. I had 8th graders approaching me in the halls before class today to tell me how much they love the book, and that they read beyond the required assignment.
One of my best students in the class came up to me before class, and as another student rushed up to tell me how much they loved the book, she told me, “Miss, you’ve got them pumped up about something. You got THEM pumped up.” (What she didn’t say: “And that’s saying something!”) It just puts such a big smile on my face. I LOVE it when students are excited about reading, and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment when it’s because of a book I introduced to them.