Is “Tuck” everlasting?

Posted: May 11, 2011 in Uncategorized
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So, I’ve been thinking about the books we read in language arts. We do not use a basal reader. We read novels (I don’t like the term “trade books” do you?) and teach skills through them.

It’s 5th grade. We’re not reading “the cannon.” We, my 5th grade teacher colleagues and I, make changes here and there as to the books we read. Sometimes a book just becomes dated or not appealing to our students. There are so many great books out there, we don’t need to keep something in the curriculum that is not grabbing people.

Spring waterOne of the books that we read is Tuck Everlasting. It is by no means new (published in 1975). The first year I taught 5th grade at this school I was dreading teaching it. I hadn’t read it since I was in middle school and had no fond memories of it, to say the least. I was lobbying for pulling it the moment I heard it was in the curriculum.

Then I reread it. It’s fantastic. Probably always was. I don’t know what my problem was way back when.

Since I love it so much, I sell it well, if I do say so myself. We have interesting discussions, do thought-provoking assignments, and generally enjoy ourselves as we read and talk about these wonderful characters and writing.

Yet, each year I wonder if the book is going to start to lose its appeal. And, every year I have students, boys and girls, tell me how much they love the book. It continues to be a favorite when I survey the class at the end of the year. (We have one more book to read this year before I give my survey.) Here are a few things students (boys and girls) have written when I have asked them to reflect on their reading:

  • I think that this is the best book that I read this year.
  • I love the story and that makes me want to read more carefully.
  • I am doing a fantastic job. I got to read over and over to get things that didn’t make sense.
  • Probably my best book yet.
  • Overall this book is really one of my favorites.
  • I think this book has been better for me than some of the other books.
  • I have been enjoying this book a lot and have been reading over to make sure I know everything.

Maybe Tuck really is Everlasting.

(Photo by Jonas Lowgren used under Creative Commons license.)

  1. Erin Ochoa says:

    I remember reading Tuck Everlasting in grade 6 back in the day. Can’t say I enjoyed it too much myself, but anything’s worth a second visit, right? I had a similar experience with Lord of the Flies and later, Jane Eyre. When I had to read them the first time for school- hated them and didn’t even bother finishing them. (Since we’re being honest). Revisiting them later as a teacher, I can finally begin to appreciate what was going on. Like you said- what was the problem back then?

    Thanks for the post!

    • mseiteljorg says:

      It is so interesting to reread books as an adult. When I reread “To Kill a Mockingbird” I was surprised to find that the trial was not the majority of the story. Even though I reread “Island of the Blue Dolphins” every year when I teach it, I always forget how far into the book it s that Rontu the dog to becomes her pet. Isn’t memory strange?

      Thanks for commenting.

  2. Jenny says:

    I LOVED Tuck Everlasting! Was definitely an elementary favorite of mine.

    • mseiteljorg says:

      You should read it again, see how it has held up. I am in the middle of “Eyes of the Amaryllis” which is ok so far, but I really did not like “Search for Delicious”; both also by Natalie Babbitt. I had very high expectations for “Search for Delicious” which I think would have made a great picture book length book or short story. It’s interesting when you like one book my an author so much and others don’t appeal at all.

      Thanks for commenting.

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