The Maze Runner By James Dashner| I started off this week by listening to about an hour and a half of this book. At that point, I had reached the end of the audiobook I found on YouTube (yes, I know, probably not the most morally sound way to go about it, but I digress…). By now I had put 5 and a half hour into this book. I thought that would be the end of the story, but nope! Turns out that was about half of it. I couldn’t find the second half of the story anywhere on the internet, and I didn’t have the desire to buy the audio book or look for it at the library. So, I told myself I would continue reading the book copy that I had next week. You know what though? I’m deciding, as I write this, I think it’s time to part ways with this book. Invoking my reader’s right to not read for the first time…EVER. I just couldn’t settle into the book. I still count this as a good experience though. Now I know what it’s like to be in that position. That same position that many of my future students will find themselves in. I’ve also got the premies of the book down, so I feel confident that I could recommend it if the right person came along needing it. I also learned that the number of pages in a book dose not correlate to how fast you read it. It took me 5 1/2 hours to get through half the book when I had someone else read it to me! This told me two things–sometimes you need to slow down, and make sure you are getting all of the information. Also, when it comes to books that are more complex for you, you need to make sure you absolutely love them because they are a time commitment!
Fish In A Tree Lynda Mullaly Hunt| Now this book, it was a different story. Hands down, my favorite book that I have read this semester. No question. The book is told from the perspective of Ally, a sixth grade student. School does not come easy to her. She struggles to read the most basic of words, can’t write to save her life, and tries to make up for it all by trying to seem like nothing is wrong. Consequently, she is bullied by other students and easily frustrates her teachers. An unfortunate event (that was really just a misunderstanding) causes her to be assigned a new teacher. Mr. Daniels treats Ally in a way that she’s never been treated by a teacher. He never gets angry. He is genuinely interested in what she has to say. He makes accommodations in the classroom that help her to become more successful. Basically, Mr. Daniels is the model teacher that we all hope to be some day! While in his class, Ally is diagnosed with dyslexia. Mr. Daniels spends time after school, working with Ally to improve her reading and writing skills. In the past, many of Ally’s teachers would write her off. This caused Ally to start to write herself off. Mr. Daniels helps Ally find the confidence she was lacking to succeed in school.
I can’t find the words that do this book justice. The characters in this book are so real and relatable. I saw so many students that I have worked with in Ally’s character. She made me laugh and cry. Her frustrations are real. It made me remember that sometimes the students that frustrate you the most are equally as frustrated on the inside–they just don’t show it. I also related to Mr. Daniels. You can tell he has a passion for what he is doing, and exemplifies so many great qualities of a teacher. I think this book should be required reading for anyone entering a teacher education program. While it may be a fictional story, it is an incredible reminder of why we teachers do what we do.