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5 Sep 2012

RTW - What I Went to School For...

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic is:
Back to school time! What's your favorite book that you had to read for a class?
I have two answers for this one.  One as a student and one as a future teacher.
As a student the best book I've ever had to read was Dracula.  I'd been planning on reading it for a while now but never got round to it.  Until I took nineteenth century literature in my third year of university as part of our Gothic semester.  I've never been so psyched about a reading list before but of first semester of C19 literature was awesome. 
I loved Dracula! It was the best book I was asked to read.  The other Gothic novels were fantastic but Dracula was something I had always wanted to read and I finally had the chance to.  And study it.  I loved studying it and learning more about the book, analysing it, discussing it's themes, messages, etc. 
It's a bit of a mouthful and quite wordy but the novel is an eerie read and tense throughout.  These characters are just ordinary people who are suddenly terrorised by the undead.  Monsters that are completely unkown to them.  They're living in a time of science where people are changing their views on the world and thinking logically.  But then here comes Dracula to remind them of the old ways.  The old folklores and superstitions that remind them of how people feared demons and looked to God for comfort and safety.  The main characters has to push aside their logical thinking and scientific ways to defeat a demonic and inhuman foe, turning back to religious superstition and beliefs.
If you haven't read Dracula I highly recommend that you do.
For my second answer it got my thinking about the books I'd love to teach children when I become a teacher.  In my class last year we did Noah's Ark, The Hungry Caterpillar, Whatever Next, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  Fantastic stories that the children loved.
I'd definitely love to specialise in English for primary education and I think back to my Year Five teacher who always took a few minutes at the end of the day to read to us.  We could either sit and listen or if we wanted to, find and buy the book she was reading and flick through the pages with her.  That's something I would love to try out if I ever teach older years. The books I'd pick to read would be:

CS Lewis: The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe
We all enjoyed learning and reading about this book in Year Four, especially since we used to it to create our own fantasy novels afterwards. 
Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Maybe better suited for upper Key Stage 2 but I have to introduce these children to Terry Pratchett before they get to high school.  Discworld would be a bit too much for them at this point but The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents is a fantastic children's book for that first step into Pratchett love.  Great for a creating writing lesson afterwards: try and retell a favourite fairy tale or legend.
Jill Murphy: Whatever Next!
A fantastic book that we read to the reception class last year.  And so many great activity ideas that I came away from watching the class teacher.  The children were absolutely nuts for it and kept acting out the book for ages!
Come and join in at YA Highway!


  1. I have DRACULA, but have yet to read it. It's on my TBR, and I fully intend to get to it... I just haven't yet (like much of my TBR). As I've said ad nauseam, I'm not really into horror, but I've seen so many iterations of the Dracula/vampire story, I'm interested to read the story that inspired them all.

    When I was in primary school, we had teachers that would read to us. It was always an enjoyable part of the school day. I don't remember all the books that were read, but I do recall one teacher reading THE BORROWERS.

    In my first year of secondary school, we had school on Saturday mornings, and our form had Latin for one period every Saturday. Our Latin teacher, however, would take that time to read Homer's THE ODYSSEY to us. That was fun, and took the sting out of not being able to lie in or watch TV.

    So, yay to teachers that read to their students! :)

  2. I think you'll like it. It's a lot more than a horror novel for sure. :)

    I think it's so important for teachers to read to their students. A lot of parents don't even bother so it's nice to know that children can get this from school at least. :)

  3. I would have died and gone to heaven if one of my teachers had read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to my class. Or anything by C.S. Lewis. :)

  4. Your list is amazing! I love it! The Hungry Caterpillar is a fav of mine, and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe! I just re-bought them the other day so plan to re-read! I also love The Wizard of Oz book which i for some reason group with The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe! Maybe the whole lion and witch theme!

    Haven't read Dracula but definitely want to and I really want to read the Terry Pratchett one, even if it is a kids book, looks cute! Thanks for a great post!

  5. Have not read "Dracula" but I know I should! Oh gosh, your teacher-list is perfect :) That's amazing that you had them write their own stories. How wonderful!

  6. Great timing. I was just looking for some children's book suggestions. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. My husband took a class in college called Imagined Worlds where he read a few books from The Wizard of Oz series, a few from The Chronicles of Narnia, and a few from Harry Potter. We collectively had already red Narnia and Harry Potter, but this was the best class ever.

  8. The Hungry Caterpillar was the first book I ever read on my own. It's a great one. I like the idea of having your students read C.S. Lewis. A great one I remember reading and loving was Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.

  9. The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe...FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE!!

    I also loved Dracula too. You are the second person to cite Dracula. Awesome selections!

  10. I don't know if I have DRACULA or not, but I really need to read it. Love THE LION, WITCH, AND WARDROBE and I really wish that we'd read it in school! That would've been great.

  11. I need to read DRACULA! I read FRANKENSTEIN for a college English course, and I loved it. I never would've picked that one up if it hadn't been required reading.

  12. Samantha, thanks for mentioning The Wizard of Oz! That can be another on my list! =D

    Bess, read it!!! I can see why it's inspired so many vampires. Fantastic horror novel. :)

    Kirsten, no problem! I know tons of stories that are a hit with the children. Their favourite before the school year ended was Charlie and Lola: I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomatoe. They all went nuts for Charlie and Lola! They never picked anything else for story time, I had to read it 100 times to them.

    Samantha, thanks for that recommendation. I'll track Stone Fox down. :)

    Tyrese, it's a classic. You HAVE to read it, even if you don't read the others in the series. But I don't think I can let the children go away with just one Narnia book to read. =D

    Rachael, it's on my list of top awesome books we got to read in school. :) And as nine year olds we really got into the story so I'm confident that I can do the same for any future nine year olds I teach. :)

    Rebecca, you definitely do. I read Frankenstein for school as well which was awesome. I luckily got to do quite a lot of Gothic novels in my studies. My favourite subject in literature. :)