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Help Kids Love to Read

Hey, folks. It’s me again. The sharp-minded among you may recognize me as that guy that posts extremely rarely, except when he has an idea for a project that he eventually lets languish. Well, one reason I so often lose time for posting is my job. I teach public school in the poorest neighborhood in Brooklyn and have for the past decade-plus. I’m still at the same school, but this year I was offered and opporllenge (opportunity + challenge, duh). I’m teaching eighth grade ELA (English Language Arts (reading and writing)). So far it’s actually been excellent. I’ve never taught this age group before and while the challenges are certainly different from the young ones, the rewards are pretty great.

However, the biggest problem in getting these kids to be life-long self-motivated readers is the classroom library. This is probably the best classroom library I’ve ever inherited, but it’s hardly flawless. Motivation is the key missing factor in a lot of these kids’ reading lives. I did an interest survey among all three classes and found that even the kids who say they hate reading had topics they wanted to read about, or, more on-point for this site, methods of media presentation: comics.

My school literally has no money for books. We can’t even hire subs when someone is absent. It’s rough. There’s donorschoose.org which is a great site I’ve used before, but the reading material is centered on younger kids.

So I went to Amazon and started a wish list for the class. It’s got all the sorts of books the kids want: comics, stories of realistic problems and relationship drama, social issues, action stories, etc. So.

I know I’m not around much but I’m going to link to that wish list. If anyone has a few dollars lying around, buy us a book or two. Heck, buy the comics (lots of “normals” are buying the non-comics). Brighten these kids’ futures by showing them it is possible to enjoy reading when it isn’t the fifteenth time you read that Encyclopedia Brown book. I’ll be adding to an altering this list as the year goes on to fulfill whatever needs we have at that point.

Just click here and start feeling great about your day.

Many thanks to Brian and the CSBG crew for allowing me to panhandle like this. I promise to write something actually about comics soon. (Or not …if you’d prefer me to keep my trap shut.)


Oh, and I love hearing suggestions for young adult books, be they comics or not. Feel free to let me know!

Done. Keep up the kick ass teachering.

Thanks! Awesome! Feel free to drop a name if you’re contributing and I’ll try to work some kind of thank you thing.

Great idea and one copy of Dodger on its way to you – as a reader from the UK, I thought that was appropriate – and obviously Terry Pratchett is awesome!
Hope this little bit helps!

Let me add my name to the chorus that this is an excellent idea.
You have a bunch of American Born Chinese on the way!

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate this, and more importantly, the kids do.

Shouldn’t they be learning that reading is for nerds, sissies, and weirdos, and then given wedgies and dumped into garbage cans? Or am I projecting my own 8th grade experiences again?

I should look into seeing what I can donate.

Hey, Top Shelf’s got a sale going on. I’ll see if I can get Lost Girls for cheap ;)

Hey, it would have gotten me reading in 8th grade.

Comics that might work for YA: the Minx books that DC had several years ago, Telgemeier’s Babysitters Club adaptations…uh, can’t think of any more right now.

Thanks, Travis, those are good ideas. Especially Lost Girls. I got the email about the Top Shelf thing and loaded up!

Good god, I hope you’re kidding about Lost Girls like I was.

Actually, I hope you picked up a copy of Blankets. That’s probably one the kids would like.

Oh who am I kidding, I have no idea.

Heh, don’t worry. Much to what would be my boys’ horrible disappointment (if they had any idea what we were talking about) I’m not buying Lost Girls.

I may disagree with many of your opinions, but this is highly worthwhile.

All Star Superman on the way.

D. Eric Carpenter

September 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Just to let you know, All Star Superman is still on you list and isn’t to be shipped for a month or two…but it is to be sent to the Brooklyn address.

If that’s okay from an ex-Manhattan-ite. ;-)


Wow, thanks, man! That has been a popular one.

Did you get All Star Superman and Thirteen Reasons Why from me yet? Amazon says delivery was attempted Sept. 19, but the books were left at the post office.

Yup! A lot of books showed at various times without a sender, so it’s hard to tell who sent what.

I wasn’t sure if my name would be on the package or not. I wasn’t looking for credit, I just wanted to make sure you got what I ordered. I think this is a great approach to the opporllenge you’ve taken on and I wish you all the success you and your kids deserve.

I’m catching up on my CSGB reading… btw work, grad school and the birth of my first child, I’ve been busy.

Came across this article – thought it was a great idea. Some books coming your way. Hopefully not too late.

that was supposed to read “between work, grad….”, not btw

Ahh, wish you could edit….

Thanks, Josh and Joe! I like your names A LOT.

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