Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
Paperback, 208 pages
Now, I haven’t read this novel yet. It’s on my list. I have a student, let’s call him WarGuy, that I had to take a minute and talk about.
This week is Red Ribbon Week. In honor, and to reinforce awareness in our students, we had a school-wide assembly during 4th period on Monday. I mention this to my students once they get in the door and get settled, and WarGuy, who’s reading Private Peaceful says, “We’re not reading today?!?”
From many of my students I’d expect that statement to take a “Hooray! We don’t have to read.” or “Yes, no Super Sucky Reading today” (and yes, I have one that actually says that for SSR on a regular basis. Of course, she won’t tell anyone that she secretly reads at home). WarGuy was genuinely upset that he didn’t get to read.
To give you an idea about how fast he’s devouring this novel–most of my students will take six weeks to read a 200 page novel. That’s about six pages every school day. WarGuy, who said when he was transferred into my class that he really doesn’t like reading, is over 3/4 of the way done, and I gave him the novel last Wednesday. He comes in every day and offers his commentary on what he read outside of school, then does the same after our daily SSR.
Other members of the class find WarGuy annoying, but I hope they’re picking up on how I react to him, pointing out the things he does that good readers do, and offering suggestions.
Needless to say, this semester, I got one.