Thursday, July 22, 2010

Beastly Book Club

Summer Camp started on Tuesday, and will run until Aug. 5. I am teaching only one class, first period, which runs from 8:00 AM to 9:00. Which means I am finished with my work day and headed home before most shops along my route have even opened for business.

I don't mind, because the class I'm teaching is "Book Club" using the book Beastly by Alex Flinn. I've long wanted to do a book club type thing, so here it is. And these are good students, sixteen of them, the ones chosen earlier to take the trip to Singapore to visit our sister school there. So these are, at least in theory, some of the best English speakers in the school--at least from the set who are in first and second grade, who want to travel overseas, and whose parents can afford the price tag.

This book is a good one to use for a book club of adolescent boys in Korea: the main character is a high school sophomore boy, it is based on an archetypal story (Beauty and the Beast), it is set in modern day NYC, the word count is a managable 55 000, and the reading level is grade 3.3. And it's about love.

Despite that, it is quite a challenge for many of these boys--they are reading the words and sentences, but not necessarily understanding the paragraphs and chapters. But this is exactly what language acquisition is really about: going from words and sentences to thoughts and ideas.

I thought it was a bold choice of the school to have me do a book club with these boys, who are going to Singapore, rather than have me focus on travel vocabulary--airport and hotel simulations, etc. Still, I wasn't going to argue, since it's what I wanted to do.

No comments: