Book Review: Book Love
By Kelly Virgin
What better way to build community in a classroom than by building a community of readers. Penny Kittle details just how to do that in Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers. Kittle’s book reads like a step-by-step account of how to turn even the most adamant of non-readers into eager and thoughtful book consumers.
Many of us who have struggled year after year with trying to coerce reluctant readers into picking up a book, can find renewed motivation in Kittle’s insistence that “Teenagers want to read – if we let them. Students … become committed, passionate, readers given the right books, time to read, and regular responses to their thinking.” Kittle goes on the back this assertion up with detailed instructions on how to guide students towards book love.
The book takes on a conversational tone, as if one teacher is simply explaining to another what has worked for her. What has worked for Kittle is first understanding readers and their reading, then working to build their stamina, expose them to a multitude of reading experiences, book talking and conferring with them and guiding them through ever increasing contemplative responses to their reading. This book is a short, easy and enjoyable read with only one drawback: Kittle’s strategies, which require time and determined commitment, will force teachers to find room in their over-stuffed curriculums. But isn’t building a community of readers that understand “The wonder, the magic, and the heart-stopping joy of books” worth every second we can spare?
- Publisher: Heinemann
- Year Published: 2013
- Pages: 169
- Other Works: Write Beside Them, Inside Writing (with Donald Graves), The Greatest Catch, and Public Teaching
- Brief Bio: Penny Kittle is a K-12 literacy coach, directs new teacher mentoring, and teaches high school writing.