“The Kite Runner”, by Khaled Hosseini is read by all of the English 10 honors classes and is one of the most-enjoyed books at that grade level. In fact novel is one of many in the running for the favorite book of students at HHS. Sara Gingras is a english teacher and decided to show the students some videos to get more of an understanding of what the book was about as well as taking her students out to fly kites for the day as a pre-activity for the book. Gingras also explained a little about the book.
“It’s about war, friendship, it’s a little bit about kite fighting. Kite fighting is a recreational activity that originated in China, but a lot of middle eastern countries participate in it,” Gingras said.
Kite fighting is popular in many countries including Afghanistan, Iran, Chile and Brazil.
“The point of kite fighting is to take down other kites. You have to manipulate the string to make it hit the string of the others [kite fliers]. You do that by coating the strings with glass. Some kids actually make the strings themselves, but manufacturers make the string as well. They have competitions and the last kite standing wins,” Gingras said.
Running to get the kite after it is cut down is a major thing as well. Typically the person who cuts the kite down gets to keep it, but sometimes if the kite is big and expensive looking people will chase after it and try to claim the kite as their own. Gingras explained how the book got its title and a little about the plot.
“The title comes from the person who retrieves the kite. The story is about two boys who are friends and one flies the kite and the other retrieves it, but it evolves over many years. It’s hard to articulate what the book is about because it’s about the journey of the main character, Amir, and his struggle with remembering things that happened in the past and trying to carve a new life in America after fleeing Afghanistan,” Gingras said.
Although the Kite Runner is a book all tenth grade English honors classes read, Gingras believes that the students actually enjoy the book and don’t just read it because they have to.
“The easy answer is it’s one of the texts we use in tenth grade, but I also know it’s a book kids love. When you’re reading it, you want to know what happens, [even though] it’s a longer one. If you look at the copies, they are torn apart, pages are falling out and that’s because students actually read it. There are some other books that are perfect and I suspect they’re not actually read like the Kite Runner because it’s real. You can really feel the characters and what is happening in their experiences and the horrors that they face, but at the same time it’s beautiful and I think the kids really react to that,” Gingras said.
Gingras took time out her normal class routine and brought in kites for her students to fly during that period. The students spent the time flying kites at the football field and on the track. She believes that it is a good idea to step back from the work and be able to enjoy the involvement.
“For me, I reflected about how much I am always pushing my honors classes and I always feel like we are running on a treadmill trying to get as much done as we can. I was just thinking we need to slow down and enjoy experiences,” Gingras said.
Gingras believes that the kids needed a break from the normal class scene because they had been working hard.
“The other reason is we have been doing so much SOL prep and I just felt like they were fried and they needed to be kids for the day and I just wanted them to run around and be kids for a day,” Gingras said.
From past experiences, Gingras believes the students should have an idea of what they are reading about because in the past they were not sure what objects in the book were.
“It came out when I assumed everyone knew what a conch shell was when we read Lord of the Flies. Kids as it turned out didn’t know what it was. I thought about how easy it would be for me to get one for them to hold and that translated to Kite Runner and how there are kids who have never flown a kite before and to understand what it’s like for them to manipulate it is absolutely something that will help them have a richer experience reading the book,” Gingras said.
The students went up to the track to fly kites in order to better understand the experiences they will read about it “The Kite Runner”.