teach like your hair’s on fire-rafe esquith

“1. Have you ever secretly read under your desk in school because the teacher was boring and you were dying to finish the book you were reading?

2. Have you ever been scolded for reading at the dinner table?

3. Have you ever read secretly under the covers after being told to go to bed?

My students and I agree that if a child answers yes to all three questions, he or she is destined to become a reader for life.

I want my students to love to read. Reading is not a subject. Reading is foundation of life, an activity that people who are engaged with the world do all the time. It is often exceedingly difficult to convince young people of this fact, given the world in which they are growing up. But it is possible, and when you consider what is at stake, the effort is worth it. If a child is going to grow into a truly special adult-someone who thinks, considers other points of view, has an open mind-a love of reading is an essential foundation.” (33)

“He is a reader. He makes connections. He understands. He is able to investigate great ideas and see their relevance to his own experience. It may very well be that years from now a young student will be reading something Luis has written.

This I believe: If young people develop a love of reading, they will have better lives. That objective is not listed in our state curriculum standards. Our assessment of reading may begin with standardized test scores, but in the end we must measure a child’s reading ability by the amount of laughter exhaled and tears shed as the written word is devoured. Laughter and tears may not be listed in the state curriculum of reading objectives, but they are the standard in Room 56. These kids read for life.” (44)


2 thoughts on “teach like your hair’s on fire-rafe esquith

  1. “However, I add an important wrinkle to the problem. I explain that these are “four to seven” questions, meaning a team will get four points if one of their members comes up with the correct answer, but will lose seven points for a wrong guess. This forces the students to think before they speak. We have all seen kids who love to scream out answers both for attention and for their need to be first. Learning to think before they speak is a skill that serves students well in all areas of school and life.” (89)

    along with the real-life monopoly experiment and purposely not having enough paint brushes so that kids have to share, the band for the homeless, and the college trips, this is just the tip of the iceberg of this teacher’s greatness. i can’t wait to meet him.

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