You never know what talents, interests, and abilities are hidden in your room until your students develop a reading habit.
You may not have known the boys in one literary circle (book club) were budding musicians until you spy them reading biographies of Latino singers. They may be very quiet about it as they do massive amounts of Free Voluntary Websurfing (read: get sucked into an “internet hole”). One day your quietest students are bursting to tell you what they know. Something they read hit a nerve: they found out that singers who chose to sing in languages other than English get less attention. Suddenly, they are passionate: they need to know and do more. They decide to create a blog to educate monolingual peers about ethnic-minority artists.
You didn’t know- they didn’t know- this text would embolden them.
The group of girls who have read every Judy Blume book ever may not have known that listening to peers’ problems, then offering calm advice was a craft, an community service, or even a career until they stumble upon nonfiction text on peer mediation. They may never have sought out leadership rolls in their school until a book inspired to start a peer mediation group.
You never know what children are capable of until you give students time, access to books, and the freedom (with gentle guidance) to choose their own academic L2 text: when they are ready, with their own agenda.