Sam Asks: What’s Your Balanced Reading Diet?

In Ms. Gati’s 6th grade reading class, we follow a strict reading diet. This is in an effort to facilitate healthy growth of our thinking and schema. Favorite or “default” genres, authors, and topics are put into the category of “doughnuts” and “pizza,” while challenge genres, authors, and topics are our “broccoli.”

Earlier this year I shared with my students that for me science fiction is a “doughnut” genre and Rick Riordan is a definite “pizza” author. I decided that in order to lead by example, I would participate in my challenge to them: read three “green veggie” genres, authors, or topics in between each of my favorite ones.

So far, it’s been a bit of a challenge! As readers I think our natural inclination is to pick up books that have familiar aspects. My students have found that in reading different genres, they have been able to extend their thinking about certain themes. They have noticed that topics and lessons transcend genres and have been able to draw some very insightful conclusions.

As a group we have seen ourselves grow. In the beginning, we all abandoned far more books than we do now. I think we were afraid of trying something new. We didn’t like the idea of powering into a text that we would have previously thought of as boring or not interesting.

I try to check in with my students as often as possible to make sure that they are reading a broad range of text. In turn, they check in with me. It has gotten to a point where they insist that I leave the book I’m reading on my desk each week so that they can inspect it for genre, author, and topic. I have had to sneak a few science fiction books in on my Nook to avoid being scolded!

Thus, in an effort to hold up my end of the bargain I have moved into a genre that I rarely read, realistic fiction. The Bracelet by, Roberta Gately is a book that deals in current events. Not only is this book “green veggies,” but it was also written for adults (I typically read YA). My students were so proud!

At the close of this post, I have a question and a challenge for you:

Question: What is your reading junk food? What is your green veggie?

Challenge: Next book you choose – let it be something outside of your comfort zone. Balance your reading life, it’s challenging and fun 🙂

18 thoughts on “Sam Asks: What’s Your Balanced Reading Diet?

  1. Reblogged this on Mrs Morrison's Musings and commented:
    I think the idea of a balanced reading diet as mentioned in Sam’s blog post is the best idea ever. I might change some of the categories though to move beyond general themes to non fiction, manga and other types of books.
    I don’t know if I have any junk food books myself, though YA is a bit of a weak spot for me.
    Maybe part of my balanced reading diet needs to be reading everything through to the end.

  2. I suppose my Junk food would be Fantasy of the Sword and Scorcery variety. Veggie would be Romance, or those ‘Dark Fantasy’ Romances oh and Historical Novels, though when i say historical i dont mean the ones about Vlad, Attila etc, im refering to the ones about historical periods and what not, which is why im going to challenge myself with the Morland Dynasty series by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles which at 30+ books is a challenge in of itself.

  3. What a great teaching strategy. I read a very well balanced diet — definitely trying to mix in more green veggies (classics — currently reading The Catcher in the Rye) and I tried a whole new food group recently (graphic novel — Fun Home). It’s a marvelous example for the next generation of readers.

  4. Pingback: Antonotations: Passing It On. | MY SPRING AWAKENING

  5. Aww wish you were my teacher but unfortunately i’m a fresh electrical engineer now. Well, I like to read from time to another and i love really to read novels, i don’t know how to read any other book because i feel like i’m not going to be able to understand what it says or what’s the point of 200 pages, more or less. Though i guess that this will be a real challenge for me. I’m reading now Dead Man’s folly for Agatha Christie and its making me think so much and wonder who’s the criminal and what are the real crimes. I guess its not a green veggie, its a junk food. lol… my green veggie is what i have had read last month, The House on Hope Street for Danielle Steel. ♥

  6. I have said at times I will read anything, even the information on the back of a shampoo bottle, so I can’t really think of any “green veggie” books. If I don’t like something its probably because of the individual book not because of the genre. I do thank my Mum for this though as she always encouraged me to read as much and as widely as possible.

  7. Could you (or someone else) please devise a “book pyramid” that shows us what a balanced reading diet looks like?

    I’m guessing that Twitter, Facebook and newspapers would go at the very top, where “fat” is? What else would be in the pyramid?

    Alternatively, another way of looking at this is that different people need to read different genres at different times. This is more akin to medicine than nutrition. “Remedial reading”, rather than “balanced reading”. Food for thought.

  8. Pingback: Thoughts on a Balanced Reading “Diet” « No Thanks, I'd Rather Read

  9. Hi! I was going to comment on this yesterday but decided to write my own post instead (see pingback) responding to yours. Check it out and let me know what you think 🙂

  10. Reblogged this on itsateenagelibrarything and commented:
    An exchange of information on books is a great way to enhance your reading experience. The books you love may not appeal to your friends but you might change their minds, persuade them to try something new. Or you may try a new genre thatyou fall in love with! Swap books, swap ideas. To read is to learn is to grow.

    What have you got to lose?

  11. I think it’s really great, because it is basically the same with books as with activities in everyday life- you never know what you can find if you step out of your comfort zone….I have been thinking about my green veggies but can’t really think of what they might be….perhaps poetry, because I always considered it as not really my cup of tea, but I’m not sure that’s what you meant..problem is that I like several genres

  12. Pingback: Thoughts on a Balanced Reading “Diet” | Dog-Eared & Dog-Tagged

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