Speak

On the first day of class with my 8th graders we did this quick little get to know you activity. One that I hope was relatively painless. There was no pairing in groups, no circles and names to remember, no bean bags tossed, just a simple little sheet to fill out. One of the questions was do you like to read? If so what's your favorite book? As we were wrapping up the day I read my answers to the kids as I think it's only fair that I divulge a little embarrassing interesting information about myself if they had to do the same. One of the tid bits I shared was that I am always looking for something good to read. Much to my surprise, the next time my 8th graders came to class one of my students brought me a book. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 

Not wanting to disappoint my student and because the book was scarcely 300 pages I jumped right in knowing I would finish quickly. Little did I know that the scant little book would suck me in an I would read the entire thing in one night. 

Speak tells the story of Melinda, a freshman, who is struggling through her first year of high school all because of one thing that happened the week before school started. Now a social outcast and struggling she has to confront her own demons in order to confront a much bigger one. 

I was struck by how frankly this story is told. It was a fascinating read told in a way that will get kids to sit up and notice and will give adults a vast amount of insight into the depth of their children's silence. 

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