Thursday, 12 May 2016

The Amazing Read: A New Kind of Reality Show

Don't tell anyone, but I've become somewhat of a reality show junky.  Whether it's a man vs. the wild, an around the world race, a brigade of aspiring chefs, or a group hopeless romantics, I find myself getting caught up in their journeys.  I root for some and curse others.  Even out loud.  I know, don't judge me.  

I guess as far as vices go, this one isn't that bad.  In fact, maybe there's something we can learn form them.  For beneath all of the silly antics and overproduced challenges, participants solve problems, navigate relationships, and apply learning in new and unfamiliar terrain.  Along the way, they reflect on their experiences and often walk away with greater understanding and appreciation for themselves and others.

So what does this have to do with us?  No, we're not going to vote each other out of the classroom or offer a million dollars.  Instead, we could consider one aspect of reality shows that might transform our readers:  the confessional.  

You know those video clips where contestants give a behind-the-scenes look into experiences, perspectives, and surprises along the way?  Well, what if we used this "genre" to highlight some of the thinking we do as readers during our journey. Of course our journey isn't around the world, it's across a book.

So instead of The Amazing Race, maybe it's...

When we ask our readers to respond to a text and reflect on their reading, we often wonder if we're assessing the reading or the writing about the reading. With short "confessional videos" readers can share what they're working on as readers and explain how that thinking is leading them to deeper thinking. It's a way for them to share the story behind the story.  It's a way for them to make the invisible visible.  It's a way for them to highlight their growth as readers.  And who knows, what they come up with might just be a little amazing itself.