I really don’t understand why none of my teachers did this in high school:
On the third day of class, I had my students recommend a book to me for their exit tickets–(end-of class quick-responses done on a post-its that they stick to their names on the laminated roster on their way out the door). The prompt was simply “Pick a book that you want your English teacher to have read so you can discuss it with them or allude to it in future assignments, and write a sentence describing why you like it or why you want me to read it.”
The recommendations were definitely interesting, and I found that I hadn’t read or heard of many of the books. Granted, I’d read The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Ender’s Game, and The Count of Monte Cristo, the last of which must have been tackled in some of their eighth grade classes, because three of my eighty-five freshies recommended it.
Here are the front-runners:
The Hunger Games
Anything by John Green (many votes, but no more than two on the same book)
The Percy Jackson series
Zuzak’s The Book Thief
Black’s White Cat series
Not one of them recommended Twilight–which I’d already resigned to read if there were too many votes for it, but as I managed to tell some of my third period just two days ago: if I want to continue to respect what Twilight is doing as a gateway book for struggling or previously uninterested readers, I should probably not read it. But that’s a post for another day.
For now, I’ll feel like I’m doing right by my students by reading more pages-per-week of what they’ve assigned me than what I’m assigning them.