Student choice


Ben Prengler

This year the AP language classes have been given the privilege of choosing their own book for an upcoming project.

Michelle Leddon, Staff Reporter

Students rarely get to choose what they read and are usually given a book that they must read whether they like it or not. But, after reading The Wal-Mart Effect by Charles Fishman, juniors in AP English Language are now being given the chance to read a non-fiction book of their choice.

“I didn’t really enjoy The Wal-Mart Effect but I’m pretty excited about [the choice read] because the book I chose actually interests me, unlike The Wal-Mart Effect,” junior Al Kaylor said.

Students had more than 300 diverse books to choose from. From Killing Jesus to 127 Hours to Seabiscuit to President Obama’s The Audacity of Hope, there is something for every student.

“There were so many books to choose from, but I’m super excited about the one I chose,” junior Logan Stallings said. “I’m glad I got Catch Me If You Can. I was worried that another student would beat me to it and sign up for it.”

Students are given until January 14 to complete a project that goes along with reading the book of their choice. Unlike with The Wal-Mart Effect, there are no in class assignments or SchoolTown discussion posts.

“My thinking behind this project is two-fold: for many students, it is the gateway into reading nonfiction.  Many students underestimate the gripping nature behind the truths represented by these works,” AP English Language teacher Jasen Eairheart said. “They connect nonfiction to textbooks, history, or boring stuff that appears on tests.”

Beyond introducing students to nonfiction, Eairheart hopes this project can pay dividends come AP exam time.

“I have to find ways to provide students with ammunition for their argument essay,” Eairheart said.  “Reading nonfiction can help.  I always challenge students to use your nonfiction book (which means you must be very well acquainted with it, and the project is designed to do just that) as support on the argument prompt, if applicable. Use it on your SAT prompt. It will stand out to the AP reader and brandish your intellect at the same time.”