Read a favorite poem of yours, ask the students to write a response, and then share your own. My colleague Linda Simpson starts with "Being a Person" or "Just Thinking" by William Stafford.
My colleague Matt Vanderlaan has people Interview a partner and compose a feature like Time Magazine's 10 Questions. Here's a link to my multimedia profile assignment that I adapted from Matt's original idea.
In another class I have students write about what their teacher should know about them as readers and writers (see below).
My Reading History assignment
Reading is one of the most valuable things we do. As we work to develop our skills, it is helpful to understand how our attitudes have been formed. Please write a letter to your teacher about your history as a reader. Include answers to as many of the following questions as you can in your letter/personal history.
Favorite childhood/bedtimes stories (who read to you?) Describe.
What are some of your earliest book memories? Anything funny happen?
Who in your home read? Parents? Older brothers/sisters? grandparents?
What magazines or books were in your home?
Who read to you in pre-school or the library? What books were your favorites?
What were your favorite TV shows as a child? Describe. Can you remember any favorite commercials or jingles?
What teacher/s taught you to read in school? Describe how they taught you. What did teachers read to you? Which books were your favorites?
Did you enjoy reading in school? Did you enjoy reading aloud in class?
In Junior High Did you read more or less frequently? Explain. Did your friends read? Did this make a difference to you?
Best book you’ve ever read and what made it the best
Worst book you’ve ever read and what made it the worst
Magazines or newspapers you look at regularly
Where and when you enjoy reading most
What book you are reading at the present time?
What books are you considering reading next?
If you buy books and keep them, where do you keep them?