These past months, I've been reading books that I'm including my curriculum. According to the expert who visits our school, the State of Minnesota expects 60%-70% of all reading to be nonfiction.
That means only 30%-40% of all reading should be literature.
I got cold feet about buying new curriculum for 7th and 8th grade all at once and decided to teach the same materials with varying rubrics for my junior high English classes.
This year,we will read Riding the Bus with My Sister by Rachel Simon. We will pick and choose some key chapters for junior high and may even include this book for my senior high class. In summary, Simon writes about how her sister Beth has centered her life around the bus schedule. The book centers on how Simon must face growing up with a special needs sister with Down Syndrome. Themes from this book include bullying, sisterhood, neglect, and family.
Our educational standards demand inclusiveness. This book emphasizes another type of point of view. It's important to consider others' life view and mindset. It's so easy to judge. It's so easy to watch people from the sidelines and judge their lives. This book forces us to consider the life of a woman with learning problems. Also, the movie starring Rosie O'Donnell is a great way to compare the movie's actors' interpretations of Rachel Simon and her sister Beth; which is, yet, another standard!