Dear reader...

Dear reader,

My reasons for taking this class were purely selfish.  I’ve been a huge fan of young adult books for the past 5 or 6 years.  In my free time, that’s pretty much all I read.  When I saw this course listed, I immediately signed up.  I saw no reason not to take a class that would let me read my favorite kinds of books and get credit for reading them.  I quickly found out that there was much more to this class than that though.  I’ve gained a new respect for authors and readers of young adult books throughout the course of this semester.

One of the most important things I’ve learned this semester is how young adult isn’t a genre, it’s an age range.  That might seem to limit it and keep some people from reading it but there is nothing stopping people outside the “young adult” age range from reading it.  In fact, our whole class consisted of readers outside the age range but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the books and being able to analyze them for deeper meaning.  And let me tell you, another thing I came to realize is that there is almost always a deeper meaning. 

Through the class discussions I learned that everybody who reads a book reads something different.  Sure we sometimes shared an opinion or two but very rarely did we come to all the same conclusions regarding the novel.  I came to realize that reading may be a solitary endeavor but it’s much better when you have someone to discuss it with afterwards.  Having a second (or sometimes third and fourth) set of eyes helps you see things that you might have missed on your own.  This was one class where I truly loved the discussions and looked forward to them. 

Something that really sunk in this semester is that re-reading is okay.  In fact, it’s great.  No matter how many times I’ve read the Harry Potter series, I always take away something new.  It may be a little detail that doesn’t seem to matter but it’s new to me.  I discovered the same thing with a few books that I chose to re-read for this class.  Re-reading books at different times in your life really open you up to new discoveries and experiences.   You may not get the same feeling of shock or awe but you can still appreciate the book.  In fact, some of my favorite books from this semester were actually re-reads.  It’s darn near impossible for me to pick favorite books but some of the ones from this class are definitely up there. 

This portfolio was the perfect option for me because it allowed me to really put down my thoughts about each book.  All of the books I read throughout the course of the semester are mentioned on the site as well as all of the projects that I did.  The reading survey was definitely my favorite project.  I’m a big online person so I asked Twitter for their opinions and let me tell you, I’ve got some new books on my to-read list because of that survey.  The book talks we presented in class also gave me many new books to check out and I hope helped some people find out a little more about the book I chose to present.  The reading journey paper really worked as the first major assignment of the class and allowed me to look back at where I started and where I am now.  All of these projects can be found here and I hope if nothing else they provide a little amusement for you.  J

All that being said, welcome to my online portfolio.  Browse around; there are lots of things to see.  Like I said above, I’ve mentioned all the books I read this semester (at least the ones I read in class) and all of my projects are presented in some way or other.  I also picked a few of my favorite discussion posts from the online discussion board and included them here.  We also had many discussions in class and I’ve chosen a few of the finer points of those seminars to include here.  I hope all of these things can enlighten you on young adult literature just like this class helped to enlighten me.

See you around!

Katie Butler


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