The one book EVERY kid will read (and it’s not Harry Potter)

24 Jun

BooksWhen I was in sixth grade, there was a book that every kid in the grade read, discussed, dissected, and analyzed with the academic attention of a Shakespeare scholar. There was only one copy of this book available, and by the end of a day, it was ripped to shreds by eager hands fighting over who would get to read it next. It was an all-out sensation.

You might be wondering: was it Harry Potter? Lord of the Rings? Ender’s Game?

Nope. Not even close.

It was fellow 6th grader Mike Palmer’s journal. (Which I am now certain Mike left lying about with the specific intention that it be “discovered” and shared among all the twittery, crush-happy girls of the grade. At any rate, he seemed very pleased with the attention.)

The fact is, kids don’t always care that much about what adults think of the world, but they always care about what their friends and peers think. If you are having a hard time getting kids excited about reading, all you have to do is let them read something written by their friends. At Deep, we help kids write books that are both artistically valuable and also exciting for their peers to read, and the results have been exciting. More than half of our students say that being in Deep and reading their peers’ work has inspired them to read more in their free time.

Do you remember reading notes and stories by your friends when you were younger? Do you think it’s a good idea to spend more time letting kids read each other’s work in class? I’d love to hear your thoughts!



3 Responses to “The one book EVERY kid will read (and it’s not Harry Potter)”

  1. Jayde-Ashe June 24, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    We were obsessed with passing notes in primary school! So much so that I remember making paper letter boxes and sticking them on the side of our desks…we were constantly in trouble for it. Our teachers should have taken your advice! Great post 🙂

    • thatwritinglady June 24, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      Thanks! That’s hilarious–did you guys also fold your notes into those fancy origami shapes? (I have very vivid memories of learning how to do that, though I couldn’t replicate it now to save my life.)

      • Jayde-Ashe June 24, 2013 at 10:07 am #

        Yes, there were very intricate squares and stars I do recall! Now I’m wondering where all those notes are…I’m sure there was some golden stuff in them!

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