Two years ago our school librarian added to our collection Volume 1 of the nine-part Bone series by Jeff Smith. I was hooked, promptly getting the remainder of the series from the public library for my own reading pleasure. The more I read, the more I knew that this graphic novel was great material for those “reluctant readers” we’re trying to support.
I suggested, even begged, our librarian to add the whole series to school library. When I realized that he wasn’t about to give in to my pleas, I moved onto another person who has purchasing power in our school: the Modified Education Coordinator. Wonderful woman, she purchased two copies of Volumes 1-5.
(Incidentally, our librarian has since had another person with far better credentials than my own outline the value of Bone, and a full set is now on its way to our library.)
This year I have a Grade 9 / 10 Essential level class. When teaching split level classes, I sometimes give students different texts to use as the basis for similar learning activities. That’s how I started out this unit: Grade 9s were using Bone, and Grade 10s Tuck Everlasting.
Almost immediately the Gr. 10s were asking to read Bone as well. I used that to my advantage, explaining that if they finished their daily reading and exercise with their own text, then they could read Bone quietly for the remainder of the period. Initially they worked hard for that privilege.
However, halfway through reading Tuck Everlasting with the Gr. 10s, I had a revolt on my hands. They wanted to read Bone. Period. So I shelved Tuck and the whole class read and worked with Bone.
Students happily created plot summaries, maps that tracked character movements, news articles, and (my favourite) turned dialogue into scripts with stage directions.
And everyone was happy. Including me.
Image courtesy of Scholastic Bone Freebies