By Ken Stoflet, Marketing Communications Specialist
In between episodes of Parks and Recreation, I was sifting through some of the recently added movies and TV shows on Netflix. One title caught my eye—A Series of Unfortunate Events. Where have I seen that before? Why does that sound so familiar? Of course! I read a few of the books in elementary school. With a rush of nostalgia, I was taken back to browsing the bookshelves, my fingers running over book spines, searching for my next read. After adding the series to my queue on Netflix, I’m determined to pick up the book series again in 2017 and refresh my memory.
In our latest What Kids Are Reading report, there’s no shortage of books that are enjoying a second life as a TV series or movie. A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird (Have you read Go Set a Watchman?)—classic books that will forever be included on a “most read” booklist. But there also quite a few newcomers that are getting students excited about reading. Books like The Fault in Our Stars, Divergent, and The Scorch Trials.
Take a look at three ways to use the report’s grade-level lists of popular books to introduce students to books they may not have considered before.
Pick a handful of the top fiction/nonfiction books in the What Kids Are Reading report, write down the titles on individual pieces of paper, mix them up, throw them in a hat, and have your students pick from the hat to see what they should read next. By only seeing the title and not the artwork, your students might read something they would’ve ordinarily passed on.
Without a doubt, I know some people will watch A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix without realizing that it is based on a book series. Test your students’ knowledge by quizzing them on various titles and ask what came first, the book or the movie/TV show. (Hint: It’s almost always the book!) Who knows, your students might even be shocked to find out some of their favorite Netflix binges are based on books! (I’m still waiting for an official Parks and Recreation book series.)
Do you find yourself always adding movies and TV shows to your Netflix queue? Have your students create their own queue of books to read next using the grade-level lists of popular books in the What Kids Are Reading report as a guide. Think of it as their Netflix queue. Have your students skim through some of the booklists and choose a variety of topics, difficulty levels, and titles that spark their interests. That way, when students finish what they’re currently reading, they can refer back to their list and find something else to tackle.
The possibilities are truly endless. As my Netflix queue grows, time seems more scarce. I have trouble finding time to sit down and watch all the amazing shows and movies I have queued up. However, that is part of the excitement, the thrill, of always having something to watch—just like students always having something to read. And although A Series of Unfortunate Events didn’t make the list in this year’s What Kids Are Reading report, I have a feeling it will make a resurgence in next year’s report.
How else do you use the What Kids Are Reading report with your students? Are you trying any of the ideas above? Share them with us on social! Haven’t seen this year’s report yet? Click here to receive your copy of the What Kids Are Reading report.
Looking to inspire your students? Share our bright, colorful bookmarks showcasing students’ top book picks based on the annual What Kids Are Reading report with them!
Ken Stoflet is the Marketing Communications Specialist at Renaissance. He has been with the company since 2015 and can be found crafting anything from a press release to a tweet. In his spare time, Ken enjoys spending time with his friends, lifting, and making trips to the Frozen Tundra to cheer on the Green Bay Packers.