I chose to look at the blog “Nonfiction Matters” by Marc Aronson for this week’s Reading Journal. I mainly chose it because I wanted to learn more about the importance of nonfiction as well as how to use it with my students in the library. (I also recognized Marc Aronson’s name- he came to University High School last year to talk to the Freshmen! He even posted about them here: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters/2012/04/26/more-news-from-the-9th-grade-front/) “Nonfiction Matters” can be found at http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters (Unfortunately he is no longer adding to it; instead, he is writing a column.)
I read quite a few of Marc Aronson’s blog posts, but one that really jumped out at me was called “Big Data? Big Questions.” The post addressed the idea of personal reading being made public via websites such as bitly.com and readsocial.net, as well as the positives and negatives associated with “big data.” Another post that I read, his “goodbye” post entitled “Change Partners and Dance,” led me to Aronson’s website, marcaronson.com. There I found a 30-minute video clip of Aronson explaining how to get young “nonreading” men to read. His solution was simple: give the boys nonfiction pieces that serve as a “pathway to something they are interested in.”
I found the resource itself very useful. Throughout his blog, Aronson addressed a number of different topics such as collaboration within common core standards, legal issues in libraries, his own projects, projects of colleagues, etc. What was most impressive about Aronson’s blog is that he constantly provided the reader with his sources. Because of this tendency, the reader is able to learn from Aronson’s experiences as well as do extra research on the topics he addresses. As a result, I find this to be a great resource I will resort back to when it comes to researching library-related issues as long as it is up and running. Unfortunately, I fear that since he is no longer writing on the blog it will eventually be taken offline.
The information I will utilize most in my school’s library actually came from the video, “Books in Action: An Interview with Dr. Marc Aronson on Young Men and Reading.” Currently, the English 2, 3, and 4 students are required to read a book a month. As a result, many young men have come down to the library asking for book recommendations (usually the shortest one possible.) Watching Aronson’s video reminded me that there are options outside of “Of Mice and Men” and “Animal Farm” for these boys, and that suggesting nonfiction pieces can help them not only fulfill the requirement for class, but can hopefully teach them that reading can be enjoyable for them, too. On that same note, I think the resource readingsocial.net that Aronson wrote about could help the students suggest books to one another (and myself) that are enjoyable and have already been approved for the class.