As a part of student education and development, language arts teachers assigned a book per month which their students read and analyzed.
“I’ve always wanted to share with students my love of reading and books, and this [assignment] was a way to do that,” Tom Felt, eighth grade language arts teacher said.
Felt has spent the past 25 years giving out this assignment. Over time, he had observed positive changes.
“I do see improvement in student reading,” Felt said. “A novel takes sustained effort and sustained time. They are learning to stick with it for a while.”
Some students have learned to manage time while reading their novels. However, many students continually strained to complete their books while balancing other activities.
“It is hard for these kids to find time to read. Using time on the bus, trains, or in the car are some popular ways. Before bed, turning off the screen and reading an old-fashioned book is a nice way to end the day,” Felt said.
Many students may have struggled with enjoying their novel. A large part of this issue was finding the right book to read.
“I would recommend ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert because it is an interesting book and a great introduction to the science fiction and science fantasy realms,” Maia De Chalambert, eighth grade visual major said.
A great way students found books to read was to ask for recommendations from fellow classmates and teachers.
“If I could recommend any novel to students, I would recommend ‘The Great Work of Your Life’ by Stephen Cope because there are valuable lessons on how to live with meaning,” Stephanie Chesler, visual arts teacher said.
Bailey Arnone, seventh grade communications major, had experienced issues trying to find a novel she enjoyed. Fortunately, she found not just one novel but an author whose work she enjoyed.
“One author whose work I would recommend all of is John Green,” Arnone said. “I love all of his books, especially ‘Turtles All the Way Down’.”
No matter what novel students chose, Felt hoped that they got something important out of it.
“I want my students to discover that reading is a joyful activity,” Felt said. “Reading for pleasure makes us more open minded, more empathetic. It is not just mindless entertainment. Reading makes us better people.”