Reading makes you smarter. It just does. If you don't believe me, spend some time researching the topic. There are hundreds of articles supporting how reading increases your intelligence. Why do you think that throughout the history of literacy, those in positions of power have attempted to keep the oppressed illiterate? If people can't read, they can't read about their options. They won't know about freedom. They won't know about rights. They won't rebel or revolt. They'll just be - content to be silent, content to not know, content to be powerless.
I want you to hold the power. I want you to find new words and unlock new worlds. I want you to find some sacred space that is just you and your book - no text messages, no games, no distractions. Your time on my time. And so, you will be provided with class time to read on occasion. I'm not going to make you annotate the book you choose for this activity and there won't be a huge project. There will be an in-class writing response that you should find very easy to manage pending you read a book. Your part of the deal is that you will always have a book to read with you when you come to class. You'll get some points when we do choice read, but more importantly, you'll get smarter.
Ready to look for a book? Here are some places to start your search:
SC Association of School Libraries Book Awards
NPR List of 100 Best Ever for Young Adults
Young Adult Library Services Association Lists
Barnes and Noble
New York Times Book Reviews