Talking Books












Hello, and welcome to Talking Books, a webpage created for my 9th grade English students so they would have an opportunity
to share their opinions of books read during the school year. For purposes of anonymity each student was required to choose an appropriate
pseudonym for this project. I, the teacher, will be known simply as “the Master.” This, regrettably, is how I teach my students the concept of irony.
So, what is Talking Books? Simply put, it’s your normal group of 9th grade English students grudgingly obeying a teacher’s demand that
they read. Well, it’s a desire that comes in the form of a demand. I’ll be honest with you: to me, it feels like students read less and less every year.
According to them, this is totally untrue. They read. They read a lot: just not books. Books have become too slow an activity. And I don’t blame
them for this. It takes a lot of time and effort to go to the library or book store, choose a book, then find the time to sit down and really commit
yourself to a story. All of this effort and time when compared to the accessibility and speed of the internet is totally unappealing. And for most kids,
the payoff just isn’t enough. You read a book, and if no one else is reading it along with you there is little to no chance of you talking about it – and
talking about literature, expressing your views about something you’ve genuinely invested your time and intellect in is fun! It’s just not My Space fun.
So, how does one change that? Well, first you give them the freedom to read whatever fiction or non fiction they want (and by “whatever they want”
I mean content appropriate for their age). Second, you make them read the book. Sometimes it takes nagging them on a daily basis – but you get them
to do it. Third, you make them have an opinion (which is much harder than you might think). Lastly, you take that opinion, sort out what’s relevant,
mold it into a sculpture of likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, then and make them share it. Sound attractive?
So, basically TALKING BOOKS is my little effort to brainwash what to me feels like the dying race adolescent readers, so that they one day
realize that books are not an obligation, but entertainment that encourages them to communicate with others, and convinces them that their
opinions are relevant, important, and often times more interesting then the books they’ve read. 
Thank you for listening.
The Master
(a.k.a. Proud Teacher)