Colby Sharp wrote an excellent blog post for Nerdy Book Club last week on celebrations. In fact it is so good you need to go read it and then come back here. I’ll wait. (POST)
Back? See, don’t you just want to be in his classroom? Man, I sure do. And if I couldn’t be in his class, because I’m obviously older than he is, I wish I taught across the hall. That kind of enthusiasm is contagious and I’d love to be around it every day!
I think what Colby was showing in his post is something I believe in so strongly. We need to celebrate with our kids – show them how wonderful reading is. Not because they will earn a reward or points towards AR, but because reading is awesome. It builds the community in our classrooms when we share stories.
C. Alexander London wrote on Nerdy Book Club this past December (POST). I saved this quote from his post, in fact I enlarged it and it hangs by my desk in my classroom. He said,
It’s a fact: people can survive without books. People can even have wonderful, full lives without books. But they can’t long endure without community, and community is built on stories.
Community, stories, celebrations. That’s what my classroom is all about and that is what I wanted my reading camp this summer to reflect. Today it did, and in a big way. I have wanted to celebrate Babymouse in reading camp. I love those little pink books. I love them because of "Ellen", a student who I had two years ago. Ellen never smiled. She read about two years below grade level and was so embarrassed by that. I remember showing her the first Babymouse book. She took it, read it that night, and came back for another. She read the entire series over and over that year and came into her own. I had the opportunity to teach her for fourth and fifth, then she moved on to sixth. That was the year I went to NCTE. I happened to meet Jenni Holm one night at our hotel. When I realized who she was I hugged her and didn’t really explain why but just said I needed to. Returning home several days later I sought out Ellen. When I found her I told her the story of meeting the author of Babymouse. I told Ellen I hugged Jenni Holm and then asked if she wanted to hug me. She did and then said, “It’s like I hugged her. Did you tell her I love her books?” Yep, sure did. Babymouse made Ellen confident and feel like she was a reader. I will celebrate this series the rest of my teaching career.
So today we did just that. Each child in camp (ages 7-12) has been reading Babymouse. They came today dressed in something “inspired” by the series. We had cupcakes with pink icing. We talked about the books. We talked about what makes us readers. We made plans for our reading vacation (because there’s no camp for two weeks). It was glorious. And although I feel like I already celebrate a lot with my students I plan on doing even more of it. Sitting around, telling stories, talking about books. What could be better?
Do you love Babymouse? If so, there is just a little time left to enter the #babymouse4prez contest. CLICK HERE for information.
All photos of students from reading camp celebrating Babymouse today.