Last week I read "Artemis Begins" to a fourth grade reading class. Immediately, the students raced to the fiction shelves to find F COL, wanting copies of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. Today, their teacher practically bounced into my office, wanting to share a story about two of those readers. They had each checked out the same book. They were reading and writing notes to each other. One had questions which the other could answer. Was that okay? wondered the girls. They were keeping track of their understanding by writing a summary of each chapter and then comparing them. Was that okay, too?
The teacher, of course, was delighted. What began as a read-aloud selection has evolved into a shared reading experience in which each reader is learning and teaching, sharing and extending thoughts. Amazingly, none of it was required reading...and nothing was assigned.
Stories like "Artemis Begins" engage readers and lead to extraordinary reading experiences.