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.
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.
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.
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 words, Every child, every day. This includes not just my students, but my own kids as well.