Every Child, Every Day

I spend a lot of time worrying about other people’s kids and whether or not they are reading, what they are reading, and if they are choosing things that are right for them.

In the first 10 minutes of class, my students are busy writing in their journals and getting their independent reading books out. Every day. I spend that 10 minutes walking around making sure every child has written something and has something to read. Every day. In fact, today during first hour I wrote three passes to the media center, had four kids check out books from my library, and conferenced with two kids who were having trouble getting started.  This is pretty typical for all of my hours.

I spend a large chunk of every day focused only on other kids’ reading.

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Last night, Eddie read a whole book to me.

A REAL book, not just one of his “just right library” books that says things like, “I see a dog,” and “I see a cat” on each page.  He read me, cover to cover, one of the Elephant and Piggie books, My Friend is Sad. If you know those books, you know they rely heavily on HOW you read the book too, and Eddie rocked it out. I spent a lot of time watching him rather than looking at the pages he was reading.

I was amazed.

My baby…ok, my oldest, but still…my BABY was READING a real BOOK.

And he loved it.

He didn’t fill out a reading log afterward (although school does send home a calendar each month and if you read for 20 minutes each day–and color in the days accordingly–you get a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut. Not really my philosophy of creating readers, but Eddie does it for the joy of reading right now, and I am letting that just flow) or make a diorama. Instead he goes back to the cover and exclaims that the book is pretty funny and maybe the book fair will have more Elephant and Piggie books to choose from.

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Today when I pick Eddie up he will have two new books from a book order and whatever he chose at the book fair. He was still going back and forth about Skippy John Jones or Pete the Cat this morning as I hugged him goodbye, so I am eager to find out what he chose…what we will be reading together tonight.

I know he will keep the books out of his backpack and he’ll be holding them in his hand when I get to school.  I know he will smile and run when he sees me, waving the books to tell me what he bought. I know he will “take a picture walk” through them in the car to decide which one we should read first.

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Every time Eddie and I sit to read, I think about my students. How many of them were this ravenous about reading when they were in Kindergarten? How many of those kids “lost” that desire…and when did it happen?

Did those kids get a chance to read every single day like Eddie does?  Like I try to give them now?

I follow Richard Allington’s wordsEvery child, every day. This includes not just my students, but my own kids as well.

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. I just love your teaching – and parenting – philosophy. Your kids (all of them) have no chance but to catch your excitement for reading, I’m sure of it.

    The Elephant and Piggie books are THE BEST. They were in heavy rotation in our house. They were the first books that our daughter read independently, and have a soft spot in all of our hearts.

  2. My little guy is the same age as Eddie and I love watching him learning to read. It’s a miracle, really.

    Even better is finding my 7 year-old daughter curled up with a cat and blanket, reading Stuart Little or Ramona.

  3. My oldest loves to read, though he’s not nearly quite there as Eddie is! My 2.5 year old loves books too, and is at the stage where he points out objects (picture books are a favorite right now), and I don’t want to exert any pressure on him to learn the words, it’s just fun to see him enjoying a book.

    Yay Eddie! And I like that, every child, every day. Your students are extremely lucky to have someone like you so invested in them. Truly.

  4. I am so loving the chance to read with my youngest. He didn’t have much patience to read together until recently – he liked to look at books on his own. Now we take turns and he has several favourites that we do silly character voices. My oldest reads every day too. I hope it will always be part of their lives.

  5. If I have a failing as a parent . . . wait, no, I have LOT of failings as a parent, but my biggest is that, if I’m tired, and it’s bedtime, I’ll take a behavior infraction and *poof* no book. And I shouldn’t do that . . . I can take away anything else, but I need to not take away the book. Even if I’m tired. And I’m always tired (though, I’ll say that, almost every day, I do read bedtime books).

    My five year old isn’t reading, just yet – but he is noticing words on the page . . . and, you know, as long as the book has a geeky undertone, he’ll read it. Leila, she’s actually getting more into intricate stories . . . I think she might actually be ready for chapter books before CJ (we’ve tried the beginning of Harry Potter, but it didn’t really work, it was just too soon).

  6. Eddie sounds a lot like my littlest one who is in Kindergarten as well. She loves to read and reads to me almost nightly. By the way, she chose Skippyjon Jones at the school’s book fair a few weeks back! And has read it to me a few times now. 🙂

  7. Sharing books is the best. I hope my girl never loses her love.