Tag Archives: book selection

Talk about reading

Photo courtesy of Nathan Tia on Flickr

After being away sick for a week, it was very nice to see Mrs Toomey and the class of 7M again.  They quickly filled me in on what they were up to. Two main things:

  • helping Lachlan with his speech as part of the Year 7 Oral Presentation Competiton (Lachlan was chosen to represent 7M)
  • discussing reading and everything associated with it

First of all, Lachlan presented his edited speech to the class – it had to be chopped a bit. The boys were enthusiastic and spot-on with suggestions about what Lachlan could do to improve his presentation. It’s a daunting task presenting an oral to the class, let alone representing the class, and Lachlan did extremely well, but if we had to be picky, we noticed the following:

  • he fiddled with his belt (Lachlan claimed his pants were too big and kept slipping down)
  • he ‘umm-ed’  a little too much (easily done)
  • he spoke a little too quickly
  • he needed to outline  what he was going to talk about in his introduction before he went into detailed facts
  • he need a few pauses for effect

Next, we went on to our discussion about Reading. While I was away, the class had collaborated to produce two lists:

Strategies for  reading

  1. Ease into the book by starting your reading with a small amount and then moving to a larger amount.
  2. Try to have as few distractions as possible.
  3. When you’re trying to get into a book, try and read at least 1 chapter before deciding you don’t like it.
  4. Make sure you are reading something that you enjoy or you will just find reading boring.
  5. Try and read after you have done some kind of activity, so you aren’t fidgety or restless.
  6. Set a time to read so that you know when it is time to read.
  7. Don’t just give up on a book if you don’t like the title or the 1st part of it.
  8. Only read as much as you want, so if you only want to read 10 pages, read 10 pages.
  9. Have a drink of water and some food that you can have while you’re reading so that you. don’t have to stop reading when you get hungry.
  10. Read in a calm place away from loud noises.

And also:

How to choose a Novel/book

  1. Choose a fiction that sounds like something you would read







  1. Try and read a book that is right for you, for example, read something shorter rather than a longer book.
  2. Google the Author and have a look around the website for information about his/her books.
  3. Read the blurb.
  4. Look for a good cover.
  5. Sit and have a read of it before you buy it.
  6. Ask for an opinion on that book.
  7. Look for something that you relate to in the blurb.
  8. IF you like an author look for other books that author has written.
  9. Look for a series that you think you would enjoy.

I created a Group in the ning ‘What are we talking about?’ called ‘To read or not to read’. Within this, I created 3 Discussions:

  1. Reading strategies
  2. How to choose a book
  3. Lots more genres

These discussions contain the boys’ strategies (which I’ve included above) as well as more genres which I copied from the magazine Fiction Focus ( Vol. 23 2009 Issue 2).

Here they are:

Here are some new genres you may not have thought of:

Animal fantasy – anthropomorphic animals as the main characters in a fantasy setting

Bildungsroman – a coming-of-age novel

Combat – a struggle between opposing individuals or forces

Dystopia – a setting in an imaginary world where the protagonists face extreme deprivation or oppression.

Gothic – broadly used to denote novels with elements of romance, horror and the supernatural.

Graphic Novel – a text type with a narrative largely conveyed through images, often in a page layout resembling a comic book.

Legend – a traditional story with a historical context and a human protagonist that has been passed down through the ages

Memoir– differs from an autobiography in that the author’s account focuses on one aspect of their life

Myth – traditional story featuring a superhuman being or an attempt to explain natural phenomena.

Non-fiction narrative – a factually accurate narrative written in a literary style

Parody – a light-hearted imitation of a serious piece or style of literature

Retelling – a familiar story, often a fairytale, retold, sometimes in a contemporary context.

Speculative – encompassing fantasy, future, science fiction and other discrete genres, speculative fiction asks the question ‘what if?’

Survival – a realistic novel where the protagonist is forced to rely on inner strength in order to overcome extreme circumstances

Tragedy – the main character is ruined or suffers as a result of a tragic flaw.

Lastly, we showed them the latest posts in the fiction blog, particularly, the trailer for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan (which is coming out in October), and the internet video game show which the author John Green has created with his brother, Hank. The trailer is amazing, and it was funny to look around the room and see all the boys’ mouths open, with little exclamations ‘I wanna read that!’ John Green’s internet game is a hoot, and we played a bit of it; I hope the boys will go home and have a play for themselves (I’m sure Mrs Toomey will).

Altogether, it was a rich and enjoyable lesson.