[etni] Re: book reports

  • From: Ruthi <rsheffer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: david@xxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 18 Feb 2009 17:50:47 +0200

David you are quite right.I adore reading and would HATE to have to write a
book report afterwards. It would destroy all the joy of reading.
It seems to me we are confusing two things, namely getting kids to read
books and testing writing.
If your aim is to get them to read, then go back to SSR and let them just
read silently in class,listening to their mp3s,putting their feet up on the
desk whatever. And just watch.. it will be relatively easy to see who is
reading and who is not. You can write down what page they begin the lesson
and what page they finish. YOu can call kids up to you in this time and ask
them to just chat about what they have read. But please don't assume that
because they turn in a beautiful piece of writing that it proves they have
read anything at all.
That is a WRITING assignment and nothing whatsoever to do with reading. How
many adults do you know who love reading do a book report when they finish a
Those little forms of Maxine's are also good. But the writing must be
My 2 cents.
2009/2/18 David Lloyd <david@xxxxxxxx>

> When I was in 9th grade (way back before the days of personal computers) I
> decided to go one step further. Not only didn't I read the book, but I
> wrote
> a book report about an imaginary book, an imaginary author and an imaginary
> publisher. I was awarded a 98 for my efforts. One of the best imaginative
> compositions I have ever written, I must say.
> This wasn't because I was too lazy to read a book. I read at least three
> books a week at the time. My mother would read a book and put it down. My
> older sister would pick it up, read it and put it back down. Then it was my
> turn. I remember reading War and Peace at the age of 14 and really enjoying
> it. Reading was one of my passions.
> But high school bored me. I sought real challenges and found none. If I
> could fool the teacher into believing in my made-up book, then she deserved
> to be had. And I deserved the mark awarded me. There seemed to be more
> reason in doing this than in turning my private pleasure into a punishing
> exercise.
> And now I am on the other side.
> We supposedly give book reports as a part of our effort to encourage our
> students to read. I have been through it all as a teacher. I've given oral
> book reports, in-class book reports, and all of the sadistic variations I
> could think of in order to try and ensure that the student actually read
> the
> book. You could say that I was now getting what I deserved, ever since
> writing that imaginative book report.
> But underneath it all, I really just wanted my students to enjoy reading
> like I did when I was their age. But it doesn't work that way, does it.
> I would be more interested in hearing ideas about how to infuse the love of
> reading in our students, rather than know that they have really read a book
> ... just so that they can complete a book report. Will they be better
> English learners in our knowing that they actually plowed through the book?
> Any better than their writing an imaginative composition in English about
> an
> imaginary book?
> David
> Maxine wrote:
> >We have been having our students write their book tasks in class for years
> > now.   While it generally ensures that the writing is genuine (unless
> > they've copied off the back cover and you haven't picked up on it)  it
> > does
> > NOT solve the problem of
> >   1) pupils having read the book in Hebrew
> >   2) pupils having seen the movie instead of reading the book
> >   3) pupils having read the book in 9th grade and possessing  good
> > memories
> >   4) pupils having read a summary of the book on the Internet
> >   5) pupils having gotten a detailed summary from a friend who read the
> > book/saw the movie
> >   6) several other possibilities that I haven't been smart enough to
> > figure out.
> > I regret to say that if this sounds a bit suspicious, well it is, and I
> am
> > talking about even the "best of them", i.e. up to the English Speakers.
> > Yes, many of them are reading, but many of them ARE NOT.   When I read a
> > book task I feel I am being had all too often.
> > Anyone who has come up with a brilliant solution to the "having been had"
> > feeling, I would love to hear it.
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