Friday, August 20, 2010


When I’m reading on my Kindle, I sometimes like to use the large -- even extremely large – font, and yesterday it occurred to me that it might be helpful to do something similar with my students now and then. With the big font size, the words sort of wake me up as I read, as if they’re strongly standing on the page and shouting, “We are special! Listen up!” It’s hard to be a blasé, slapdash reader when the sentences seem to strike out at you with their enormous words. Even a comparatively wearisome sentence in The Deerslayer (most of which I love and am rereading) can be a small prize for a reader when the letters stand shockingly tall on the page. I’ve never done it before, but this year I might, for instance, show a passage from A Tale of Two Cities on the whiteboard, and raise the font size way up. The opening sentence might work well for this. I can picture the 9th graders looking up at these 3- or 4- or even 6-inch words:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was …”
Perhaps those famous words, now striding like giants across my classroom board, might surprise the students into suddenly realizing why they have roused so many readers over the years. Of course, the kids and I have to go back to the more modest fonts for most of our reading, but an occasional look at great words in great sizes might make their significance seem to shout out to us.

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