Levittown middle school students took part in virtual book discussions about
Sixth, seventh and eighth graders in the Levittown School District will be discussing Rob Buyea's "Because of Mr. Terupt" throughout the school year and approximately 160 students got a head start during the Summer Reading Extravaganza.
Students received a copy of the book during their English classes in June to read over summer vacation. They were invited to take part in virtual book discussions on July 21, Aug. 11 and Aug. 30. Director of English Kerin Slattery said that the first two sessions had about 40 participants, with more than 80 students joining the final discussion.
"Our goal is to promote literacy throughout the summer, and do it in an inviting way," Ms. Slattery said.
Each virtual discussion featured thought-provoking questions about different literacy elements in the book, including the characters, dialogue and plot. Students shared their analysis in small-group breakout rooms, facilitated by teachers and librarians from the Levittown Public Library. Ms. Slattery noted the very thoughtful and insightful discussion that took place among students, including connections they made to their own lives. She added that one of the reasons they chose "Because of Mr. Terupt" is because the main characters are middle school age and relatable. ?
Participants were entered into a raffle for lunch with the author when he visits the district in October. Mr. Buyea will be hosting in-person assemblies on Oct. 25 at Wisdom Lane Middle School and Oct. 26 at Jonas Salk Middle School, and 30 students from each building will be invited to lunch. He will discuss his books as well as the writing process.
Students could also earn raffle tickets by sharing their thoughts about the book on a summer reading website blog or participating in the Levittown Public Library's summer reading program. Additionally, three students at each virtual book discussion won a $10 Amazon gift card.
Ms. Slattery said that the purpose of having everyone at the two middle schools read the same book is to build a community of learners through literature. With shared reading experiences, there can be lots of engaging dialogue during the year. "Because of Mr. Terupt" is the first book in a series, she added, so any students who really enjoy it can continue reading to follow the stories of the same characters.