If you teach middle school aged kids, then you know that the greatest motivator for them is their peers. If I didn’t know that before, I certainly know it after incorporating book boosts into my daily routine.
Back in September, one of the first books I boosted was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After my boost, I thought for sure I would have kids checking out my two copies of the book. But guess what? Not a single kid wanted to check it out! I couldn’t believe it! This book was so popular the world around, but apparently not in my class. Over the next few months, I recommended it to kids seeking advice for a new book to read, but to no avail. I couldn’t get anyone interested!
Finally, in February, I noticed one of my boys pull The Hunger Games off the shelf and check it out. He began reading, and zoomed through the fast-paced novel in three days. Upon finishing it, he signed up for a book boost and shared it with the class. Well, I suppose you can predict the effect of that book boost…within a day I had a waitlist for the book! I had to go out and buy a couple more copies just to so I could stop hearing, “How much longer until I can check out The Hunger Games?” from my class. Patience is not in my students’ vocabulary when it comes to waiting for a good book!
My experience with The Hunger Games reminded me that even the best books need a little boosting, and the most qualified to do it are the kids. The most popular books in my class library are the ones that the students recommend to one another. Because of this, I reserve about five minutes each day for boosting books. Those five minutes are invaluable to me.
By the way, I now have a waiting list for Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games! The third book in the trilogy, Mockingjay, arrives in August 2010!