Phila. school uses 'Hunger Games' to hone reading skills
PORT RICHMOND - March 22, 2012 (WPVI) -- "I can't wait till tomorrow!" one girl told Action News.
Clutching copies of 'The Hunger Games,' students from Sheridan West Academy Middle School in Port Richmond are counting down to when they can see the movie version of the book they so feverishly read.
They've even been practicing the soundtrack.
"'Just close your eyes.... The sun is going&." they sang, laughing.
"They describe a lot of things very good, and I can just picture it in my head," said 8th grader Tania Santiago.
"Yeah, and at the end of every chapter, it leaves you in suspense," chimed her friend Daisha Smith.
The enthusiasm seen now is a complete about-face from when these students first heard about the book, especially the ones who admit they never would have considered reading fun.
"I thought it was going to be real boring," said one student.
Always looking for ways to get students reading, health and physical education teacher Laura Lozada got permission from the principal and successfully received donations from donorschoose.org for copies to read in class.
The students' outlook soon changed.
"I kept on telling her to keep on reading because it got better and better," said 7th grader Marcus Flete.
"Every time I'd go somewhere I'd have to take the book with me, not put it down," said 8th grader Jose Lopez.
The goal of course is to not stop at this series.
"Like Jose for instance. He read the book, and then automatically read the second, then the third," said Lozada. "And then I saw him with a brand new book. And lot of my students have been doing that."
Whether it's 'Hunger Games' or another one, educators explain the trick is finding the hook, so reading isn't just something you have to do, but something you want to do.
The link from written word to movies is something the principal says other teachers at Sheridan have discussed before.
"She actually had the movie script for the kids. So they can see it all starts with writing, it all starts with words on a page."
In fact these students were so excited to discuss the book, they even let some vital plot details slip.
Don't worry, I won't tell. You'll have to read the book.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, movies, school, port richmond, hunger games, local/state, katherine scott
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