The Value of the Reread

During goal setting this semester, one of the categories students might have randomly been assigned (more on that in a later post) was along the lines of reading a favorite book again, or reading someone else’s favorite book.

re-read a book cards.jpg

There were a few different ways to phrase the idea, but essentially these categories were about reflecting on oneself as a past reader and/or discussing favorite books with friends. This is an impossible category to book talk, so it’s time to get creative.

I shared a clip from a Friends episode: Rachel and Joey swap favorite books, so Joey agrees to read Little Women and Rachel agrees to read The Shining. (Show just from about 00:39 to 1:50.) This clip simply introduces the idea that students who have wildly different reading preferences can still share and discuss books, and then broaden their reading comfort zones.

After watching this short clip, I asked my class – these were 10th graders – to think about any favorite books that popped up, whether they had reread the books or not. Did any titles immediately come to mind?

I then shared a more serious, yet short article from

You, Too, Will Love Big Brother: A Life Of Reading And Rereading ‘1984’

It’s a short and sweet article about reading and rereading a book from childhood to adulthood, and how the meaning and connection to the text has changed and evolved. It’s also a recommendation of a great book.

So now my students are contemplating titles that have impacted them in one way or another. Most likely, they will reread for the first time with this assignment. They will recommend favorites to each other and eventually swap books.

I’ll share chapter two of Pat Conroy’s My Reading Life, the one that discusses his relationship with Gone with the Wind. He describes his mother’s passion for it, and the first lines of this chapter describe how she needs to replace her own well-loved copies.

I’ve used excerpts from My Reading Life as mentor text before, so the students are familiar with Conroy’s voice, and will hopefully be able to summon up a book, short story, or poem that they can finally agree has helped to shape them into who they are, and what they are becoming.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Author: adventuresinhighschoolworkshop

Julie has been teaching secondary language arts for nineteen years, spending the first fifteen in rural Central Oregon, four in Amman, Jordan, and is currently in her second year teaching in Managua, Nicaragua.

One thought on “The Value of the Reread”

  1. Pat Conroy’s chapter on Gone With the Wind inspired me to read it for the very first time. I am surprised, as a Canadian, how much it helped me understand some of the roots of today’s political landscape in the US. I know if I’d read it when I was younger, and not as exposed to US politics to the degree that I am now, that it would have certainly been worth a re-read.


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