20 August 2020
Welcome to what I hope is an exciting, engaging, and worthwhile semester/year at Granite City High School. I look forward to working with you whether online or in-person and helping you become better readers, writers, and thinkers.
In room 251 and it’s online space (mrsconnollysclass.com), you will be asked to craft a reading life – not fake a list of books read, not cut and paste arbitrary book reports, and not click boxes on multiple-choice online reading quizzes. A real reading life encompasses finding books that really interest the reader, engaging meaningfully with those books, and sharing the joy of reading with others.
Whether you are already a voracious reader with a book on-hand at all times or a “reluctant” reader who hasn’t picked up a book on your own in years, I truly believe there is a reading life out there for you – you might just need guidance to discover it (or find it again).
Books are amazing. They can transport us to other worlds, allow us to live other lives, help us consider other values and other ways of thinking. Books can also help us through troubling times, reminding us that we are not alone and that others have traveled this path or one like it before us. Reading not only teaches us new lessons but helps us develop empathy and understanding of the world.
As part of this course, you will be asked to read – not just books we read together or in groups and study deeply, but books you choose. The more books, the better for reading improves our reading (and our writing). Developing reading stamina, examining the craft of many authors, and challenging reading ability are essential for success in education beyond high school. I’m looking for at least two hours per week of reading (but more on that later).
You can read books from anywhere (books you own, books checked out from the public or school libraries, books borrowed from friends, borrowed on online platforms, etc.). I also continue to develop a classroom library from which you can borrow books of varying styles, topics, and genres (access it at the link on the class website). I won’t be familiar with all the books you choose to read, and I won’t even remember all the details of books I recommend. I don’t feel it necessary to censor what teenagers read. I trust you, as a young adult, with the liberty in choosing what is appropriate. You all have different needs when it comes to reading – you come from different backgrounds, have different reading capabilities, and have different life experiences. What may be perfect for you may not be a good fit for a classmate or friend.
Reading relieves stress, builds stamina, and helps us think in new ways. Often, the key is discovering the right book and letting go.
Jennifer A. Connolly GCHS English Teacher / MA in English / Teaching of Writing
P.S. Know that I am sending a letter regarding independent reading to your parent/caregiver, so they know the expectations and have the opportunity to build connections with you over the reading of books.
Check out this video by my teacher-friend Penny Kittle. It’s aimed at teachers, but students, you might just see yourself in her students and their thoughts on reading at school.
WHERE TO FIND BOOKS TO READ DURING REMOTE LEARNING
- Amazon.com – order books to be delivered to you or ebooks to read on your devices
- Audible.com – listen to books with a subscription or pay for them individually (the first one is free)
- Other book sellers like Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores like Left Bank Books in St. Louis will also ship books to you or offer ebooks
- Kindle or other e-book platforms
DIGITAL & AUDIO BOOKS FOR FREE
- Your local library Six Mile Regional Library offers ebooks and you can sign up for a library for free from home – link here https://www.smrld.org/connect/get-a-library-card/
- Sign up for https://gcsd9.axis360.baker-taylor.com/ to get Axis 360 through our school media center
- Create a login by finding GCHS and then a username by using the letter p followed by firstnamelastname (no spaces or capital letters).
- Download the app on your phone if you want and check out ebooks & audio books
- Or use it from your computer screen (note this way won’t keep your page numbers, so you’ll have to keep track)
BORROW FROM MRS. C !!!
- I’m determined to make the class library work for you even in remote learning.
- Check out the link to class library to see what’s available (please note the search is finicky – spelling matters)
- Request books by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (request 2 or 3 at a time for convenience)
- These books can be delivered to your bus stop on the Tuesday & Thursday drop-offs -OR-
- You can ask to pick them up at school and they will be waiting for you at the office (exact location TBD)
- Return them the same ways – bus stop pick-ups or main office drop-off
- You can see the Mrs. C’s Library tab for general info on book etiquette
BORROW FROM THE GCHS MEDIA CENTER
- Use the link to access GCHS Media Center and choose Follett Destiny to see what’s in the collection
- Contact Mrs. C via email and request what you want to check out
- Mrs. C will check out the books on your behalf and you can pick up with the same options as above
BORROW FROM SIX MILE REGIONAL LIBRARY
- Go to https://www.smrld.org/ to see what’s available at the GC public library and stop by to check out a book (you can pick up your physical library card there too – just remember you’ll need a parent if you are under 18)
- There’s a great teen reading room in the downstairs with so many great YA titles