Not this year. I grew out of reading logs several years ago and have never looked back, but the love of reading did not abound in my room by any means. Sure, there were those few kids that just had to tell you about their latest book, but they were by no means the majority. And yet I had no intention of changing the reading attitude in my room, after all, I am no miracle worker and why fix it if it isn’t broken? But something changed this year, I am not sure what, but reading has become our passion.
Our room of students no longer groan when it is time to find their books and their spot, instead they groan when I ask them to come to a good stopping place. Must do not thumb reluctantly through my many strange books or constantly reread the same book over and over, hoping I wont notice. Many old reading habits have died and been replaced by a new one; a love and passion to spend our time reading fantastical books.
This transformation started with an evaluation of my classroom library and realizing that I had quantity, sure, but no quality. I had ordered whatever looked enticing but never taken the time to read much of it. I had faith that students would just discover great books on their own and share them with friends, not knowing what my own reading responsibility was.
This year, I read as much as I can, trying to turn off my computer every night by 8 PM and getting an hour of reading in before I fall asleep. My home library has spilled into my classroom and I thrust new books into the hands of students knowing that they will probably like it. I constantly know what my students are reading because we are constantly discussing it. I am encouraging students to give up books that they are trudging through; reminding them that it is ok to not finish every book. I am showing book trailers and getting honest feedback. We are readers and not just at reading time but at any time throughout the day. Books are the most important things to us and those kids that I used to interrupt at all times so I could teach them one more strategy those kids whose reading time was diminished so we could intervene, scaffold and model, those kids who didn’t get to pick a book because we knew better; those kids are reading. And they are reading silently, not because I wander the room with my eagle eye, but because their book is that good.
Today, was one of those days where I couldn’t quite believe how far we have come in two months. One student asked me what to read next since he had just finished “Liar & Spy,” I was astounded since I had given him that book yesterday. Another student did his first book talk and didn’t hate it, this is the kid that promised me he had nothing to talk about. Another kid, who said his goal was 1 book for the whole month of January has read 3 and is excitedly reading “Origami Yoda” at the moment, not even realizing that it is a book meant for kids at a higher level than he is. Or the girl who is counting down the days until the sequel to “The False Prince” comes out, well, actually there is 4 of us counting down. We are readers. Not because Mrs. Ripp threatens us. Not because a reading log tells us so. Not because there is a reward at the end of it all. We are readers because we love books and we cannot wait to share them.
|image from icanread|