I had just revealed our January book challenge.
A simple premise really; the class would set a goal of how many books we will read in January thus creating a sense of urgency and excitement. We will have until January 31st to reach it and if we do there would be a huge read-in celebration to toast our achievements with surprise treats and games. I thought is was a no-lose proposal. And like I said, they didn’t hate it, but the cheers of excitement I thought would be reverberating through my room with perhaps the addition of a chant of “Reading, reading, reading…” just didn’t happen.
Instead some kids wrote a normal goal; 4 books. Others stretched themselves with adding picture books; 10 books, while some did not hide their distate for reading; 1 book and even that would probably be a graphic novel. “You mean you want us to read more Mrs. Ripp?” I sighed and thought about what to say next.
“It is not just that. I don’t just want you to read more, I want you to be excited, to share your books and to grab them from each other. I want you to want to come to school to tell me what you have been reading, tell me what to read next, and to see our goal grow.” “Oh…”
They get it. They want to please me. And some of them are a little bit excited. Most though, they are still learning the magic of a book and a story that swallows you up. Some still struggle with what to read next. Some still struggle with focusing in on a book. But a couple of them get it, a couple of them ask me what to read next. A couple of them told me how they had read during snack time, turned off their computer, read to their little brother. Those kids are with me; the rest? I am still working on those and that’s ok, I am up for the challenge.