How do people find out what their interests are?

I mean, for people who don’t just naturally know what they are interested in, what makes the lights turn on?

A lot of adults get by with no real interests. They don’t hunger for information about a particular topic, and they have no desire to hunt through fiction looking for personalities and events that unlock some aspect of their own imaginations.

But kids. They’re supposed to be interested in stuff. They’re supposed to exist in a wonderful fairyland of dreams and fancy where dull actuality carries precious little influence. Isn’t that why they forget to do their homework and leave their coats on busses and get to work late and and and…

Today in class we started the most important assignment I give all year: A worksheet that guides students in the creation of their own personal reading lists–a list of books that contain the information and stories that each individual student most wants to read about. A list of books the individual student is interested in. It’s amazing to watch students who have no apparent interests (or who don’t realize what their interests are) attempt to complete this assignment. They contort themselves this way and that way, they complain that the instructions are confusing–which they are, to people who aren’t hungry for knowledge. What every student in my class most needs are interests. Will this activity help with that? A young teacher can hope, I suppose…

Even though the activities on the worksheet are pretty limited, if combined with human resources (me, our school librarian, the excellent YA librarian at the SLC public library), any student who goes through them all should have a pretty nice list of high-interest stuff to read for the next 3 months.

For you students out there, this class will require an outside reading book to be completed about every 2-3 weeks. If you weren’t here, download the handout and go through it step by step, paying close attention to the instructions for each section. Email me any questions you have.

If you were here, and just happen to be checking out the blog today, I’d really like to know what you thought about all of this. Did you learn any new ways of finding books? Did you feel excited to be able to find books that you would like? Was the whole thing confusing and pointless? Do you have any interests? If not, what are you going to do about it?

My experience so far here at EHH is that students generally like to read on their own. This might surprise a lot of adults. I hope this list will help you guys find even better stuff that rewards your reading efforts over the next few months.

The completed worksheet is due on Monday. We also started reading Catcher in the Rye. Most classes got to about page 10. If you weren’t here, take a trip to the library, pick up the book, and stay with us.


Quote of the day: “I’m interested in gore.” Dylon M.


Personal reading list worksheet

8 responses to “1/25/2007

  1. Hey, this is Andrew M. in your second period class. I feel happy that a teacher is making me read again. I enjoy reading, but I never found the time to read anything but online short stories, lyrics, and blogs (but not your blog… kidding).

  2. Howdy, this is Ben W. I am in your second period class. I have always loved reading, but this worksheet will provide me with lots of new ideas and suggestions for books, i’ve never read, or some familiar one’s i may have forgotten about. I would like to thank you for your suggestion of Oliver Sacks for psychology books, and my mom happens to have many of his books for me to read here.

    Thanks Again, Ben

  3. Hey Andrew.
    Sometimes I’ve felt just like that–I’ve wanted to read but I needed someone to force me to do it. Anyway, start reading! (crack of the whip).

    What blogs are you interested in lately?


  4. Ben–

    Oliver Sacks is the coolest–I’ve had so many ideas for characters in stories based on parts of the people he writes about. His books really make me feel like the whole world only exists in our own minds and there’s no such thing as “reality” like most people think of it. I don’t know if this is a healthy attitude for a kid such as yourself, but hey–that’s what I’m here for–the corrupting of the youth, etc. Thanks for the feedback.


  5. I have been reading everyones blogs. Yet the ones I find most interesting are the blogs that have someones week described in a humoristic way even though they had a bad week. It’s like you feel bad for them, but your vocal cords dissagree and make you laugh.

  6. Oh and I also started a blog on my website. It’s http://www.insanityblog.rathbot.net. Take a look if you can.

  7. Yeah–I’m not a big blog reader, but maybe I would be if I could find what you’re talking about–someoine truly sad and funny at the same time. I’ll check out your blog. Let me know when you hit a million.


  8. Well, I mean the blogs about people that think that the glass is half full. And i’ll let you know when I hit a million. It’ll be before you 🙂

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