System 44
I Am Malala: A Class Book That Changes Students' Lives

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is part of the READ 180 Universal 's Stage B paperback library. A wonderful book, by all accounts, but most importantly because it enhances the theme of READ 180 Universal's Stage B, Workshop 1 Unit Stand Up.

As students learn the meanings of terms such as "advocate" and "activist", they delve deeper into the lives and experiences of three activists: Malala Yousafszai, Kesz Valdez, and James Koffi Annon. 

In this Workship, my students learned the value and dignity that each human being has, and how the lack of human respect is evident in human trafficking, child labor, and neglect in impoverished countries where the government has not yet had the courage, for economic and political reasons, to put an end to the abuse that families and children must endure in order to survive.

But I find that although my students have access to the United States' Bill of Rights, and the freedoms of living in our Nation, some of their lives are torn apart by living in one- to no-parent households, residing in temporary foster care homes, or worse (although better than living in the streets or garbage dumps), spending their days at various shelters or residences for "unwanted" children. 

My students were deeply affected by Malala's story. At first, they couldn't fathom a society that prohibited girls from receiving an education. Second, because they could not understand why Malala continued to attend school and even (God forbid) wrote a blog about her experiences. And finally, how Malala's father supported his daughter's passion and belief that all children should have access to an education, despite the Taliban's effort to stop it.

So, I decided once again, to interrupt the Independent Reading Rotation by teaching a class book. This year I Am Malala took the stage.

We all know the importance of teaching a class book. Check out my post where I outline the key literary elements, with definitions and examples, to include in teaching a class book, as well as suggested writing and project activities:

The Class Book Recipe for Building a Community of Readers

Most of our students will eventually exit our READ180 classroom, and it is essential that they have the skills to navigate the fundamentals and nuances of all genres in fiction and non-fiction text. There is no better way of doing this than through teaching a book as a class.

The concepts and themes in I am Malala are unique, distinctive and life-changing. It is worth the time and effort to obtain a class set, as my class was suffused with the illumination of a different worldview, and the lives of my students have been forever changed.

Plan for a class book now so that you will have time to order the books for a great start in the Fall. If you are teaching Workshop 1 "Stand Up" then I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is the book to teach! 

If you plan to teach a class book, check out Debbie Lee's latest Stage C blog post, Independent Reading - Now's the Best Time to Read a Class Novel. 

System 44 Educator