You are the app
Today, I had a captive audience out of a group of 5th graders. For those of you who don't teach 5th graders, they can be a tough group to impress, and an even tougher group to get to try books outside of their normal reads. My kids can get stuck in ruts, often turning their noses up at the suggestion that an Everybody book can be a good choice.
Not any more! Today I introduced them to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. We didn't simply read the book~we engaged with the app the Imag.N.O.Tron. I hooked up my iPad to the LCD projector and off we went. They were stunned. Awestruck even, that a book could come to life. They were transported into the world of the book and captivated. And it was a great lead in for the lesson!
Ss: (quite excited and eager) Do other books do that?
Me: (sheepish grin) Most books can do that.
Ss: Really? No way....
Me: (still smiling) It's all about the books you choose. Everyone has the ability to get lost in a book...to see the events unfolding around them...to transport themselves into the events and get so caught up that the world seems to stop. The key: finding a good fit for you~ finding the book that when you read the words, you can paint a picture, smell the smells, see the sights. It's not simply about just reading words off a page.
Ss: Silence. They were speechless. I love it when I catch them off guard.
Me: Ok- so we're going to look for books~ and I want you to each get an everybody book.
S: They're too easy- you can't challenge me there.
Me: Everybody books help you to look beyond the words- let's take a look back in our book. I turned to the section on the passing of time and had them study the pages. We talked about the changing season and how as they read books the seasons can oftentimes parallel the stage of the main characters life. We looked at the vocabulary and how when Morris' life was "scattered" that the words around the page were synonyms.
The next 20 minutes were spent helping students find books to fall in love with. We found books that were easy in their eyes, but with deeper meanings and connections by authors like Woodson, Polacco, and Peet. They rediscovered favorites.
And me? I am content tonight relishing the fact that fifth graders went home with books to try and get lost in. Because yes, there's an app for that: you are the app.