Chiller Book Clubs–Yes, I Went There

I’m with the kids–dolls are scary!

My school’s PTO is paying to have Johnathan Rand, the author of two insanely popular series (Michigan Chillers and American Chillers), visit our school in March.  Rand’s books have been a staple of independent reading in my classroom for several years, and a few of my students were excited to hear that he was stopping by.  And (as I do) I started thinking about how we rarely have author visits, and how it would be nice to really get kids revved up.  The short version–our principal coughed up the money for some small sets of Chillers, and now my class has begun a short book club experience.  I was not excited, because while I see the appeal of these series for many students…they’re just not my thing.

Thank goodness I ignored my personal tastes, because boy howdy!  Virtually every student is tearing through their books.  We had our first, very informal book club meeting today (they got the books Monday) and kids had their heads together, engrossed in conversations about main characters, opening books to share parts and arguing over the scariness factor (consensus is that monsters aren’t scary, but dolls that come alive are pretty creepy).

Yeah, I know.  We aren’t exactly hitting the complex texts with those close and critical reading lenses here.  But at the beginning of the year, most of the kids in this class self-identified as reluctant readers (and most of the parents identified their kids the same way).  So to see them engaged enough to argue about how big the ogre really could be, or whether the main character is too stupid to survive, is AWESOME.  So what if no Chillers made it into the appendices of CCSS?  We’re digging them up in Room 116!

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