Thursday, September 24, 2015

What's Your Home Run Book?

I was recently reading an article in The Journal of Communication and Education entitled, "The Home Run Book Experience" (September 2015).  The authors Vinnie Henkin and Stephen Krashen identify a home run book simply as, "books that encourage students to become a dedicated reader." 

"The concept of the home run book was first introduced by Jim Trelease (2001), who hypothesized that one positive experience can be enough to create a permanent interest in reading. Many children have testified that the home run experience is real, that one book started them on the path to becoming dedicated readers." (Kim and Krashen, 2000; Von Sprecken, Kim, and Krashen, 2000; Ujiie and Krashen, 2002). The article goes on to include a case study of an ELL student who made vast improvements in reading due to his discovery of his own home run series of books.

The article made me reminisce, what were my home run books as a developing reader?  If you stop in my office you'll see some of my first home runs as an emerging reader, such as The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey, and The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. These were books that quickly became best friends and encouraged me to become a dedicated young reader.  My home run books continued to change over time as my love for series books grew: The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Moffatts by Eleanor Estes, The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. 

What home run books will we help students discover during this school year?  Will they be fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, how to texts?  How will we make sure every student hits a home run?  First, they all need to come up to bat, then we as teachers, and family members need to throw the right pitch for every unique batter.  All of our kids need to find their home runs, we'll coach them and continue to help at batting practice until we get them all around the bases. I'm sure we're going to hit some grand slams!

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