What Books Have Changed Your Life? - National Council of Teachers of English
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What Books Have Changed Your Life?

Last year during Independent Bookstore Day, a local bookstore in Ann Arbor where I live set up a photo booth and asked patrons to take a picture with a “Book That Changed My Life.” I didn’t actually participate in this photo booth experience because I didn’t know about it until I read the store’s blog post about it afterwards, but even with the ephemeral nature of the Internet and social media, that idea has continued to stick with me all these months later. What books have changed my life? My colleagues’ lives? And more importantly, my students’ lives?

When I was tasked with the job of planning this month’s #nctechat to revolve around summer reading, I thought about how we could use this as an opportunity to remind educational stakeholders that reading can be more than just for learning and for leisure. The right book in the right hands at the right time can be a life-transforming experience.

But so often students are presented summer reading as a job. An assignment. A way to extend the school year and turn it into yet another dreaded task to carry out with as little joy as possible. And in our effort to prevent the “summer slide” we lose sight of those other reasons for which we read: not just to learn, but to find joy and be transformed.

On Sunday June 19 at 8 PM ET, we invite you to join our #nctechat on Twitter to discuss all those life-changing books and writers in your life. But let’s also extend this conversation to the people who matter the most: our students. Invite any and all stakeholders to be a part of the discussion: students, parents, colleagues, and even the authors of the life-changing books themselves. By the end of this month’s chat, we hope you will be reminded not just of those books that changed your life, but how you can help your students find their own path to life-changing reading experiences.

Questions for the chat:

  1. Let’s begin by introducing ourselves. Are you here to share your love of reading as a teacher, student, parent, author?
  2. Let’s get to what we’re here for: Tell us about the book(s) that changed your life.
  3. How did you discover that life changing book?
  4. Is there a book you can pinpoint that turned you into a reader?
  5. Have you ever given someone else a book that changed them?
  6. Was there ever a book you assigned as a teacher or read as a student that changed a whole class?
  7. What are some life-changing books you’ve heard other people talk about that you haven’t had an opportunity to read yet? (Perhaps a summer reading goal?)