Slice of Life is sponsored on Tuesdays by Two Writing Teachers. For the month of March we are posting a slice each day on our blog. Join in!
Yesterday I had an entire afternoon free. I was caught up enough on my stuff for school that I felt I could reasonably take off some time to attack the stacks of books that have been building up since basketball season started in November. I picked up several books, read the dust jackets, put them down. I have four books from the public library, a couple dozen from the school library, and hundreds of choices on my Kindle. I couldn't choose one that I wanted to dig into. Some of it is that I know I will have no time to read during the week, and I hate starting a book that I know I won’t get back to until at least Thursday.
So I turned to some of the short e-books that I have downloaded. The e-story has blossomed into bridges between novels in a series, prequels or alternate points of view to round out backstory and characters from a series, and stand-alone stories while an author works on the next full-length book. I like these short works. I know that I don’t have to commit hours to them, that I can get a full story in one short period of time, that I can get a reading "fix." Short stories are like chocolate for me. Just a little taste to satisfy the craving.
We talk a lot these days about complex texts, but just because texts are short doesn't mean they are simple. We have an entire section in our library of short story collections that only ever get used by teachers. Some of those stories are great gateways for kids to find authors they love, sample a genre, or just get back into the reading groove.
Next week we standardized test, and I don’t want my students to have to work very hard in class. I want them to leave all their energy in the testing room. It may be time for us to break out those story collections and see what short works we can find to pass the time. Who knows what doors will open if I let them pick short stories to read and see where the stories take them?