Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Slice of Life - A Reading Life

Yesterday I woke up at 7 am, went for a run, returned to read just a little more in my current #bookaday – House of Secrets. Luke and Liam were reading as well – Chamber of Secrets for Luke, Chris’s old comics for Liam.

Around 9 I took Luke to his first ever band lesson and book talked with some incoming fifth graders in the line. Then I spent about another thirty minutes talking about the teaching of reading and writing with a colleague.

Rushed home to prepare for reading camp. From 11-12 I taught the first eleven kids. We discussed books - how sometimes they are slow to start. We shared titles, Skyped with Tony Keefer’s class and got book recommendations. I finished up by sharing the three picture books in this month’s Sharp-Schu book club with them.

From 12-1 I had a book club with seven middle school kids and we discussed Gae Polisner’s Pull of Gravity. The kids had great questions, made me laugh, and I reflected how much I missed these former students. We even had the opportunity to Skype with Gae towards the end of the class and the students were brilliant.

For the next few hours Luke, Liam, and I took to different corners of the house. We read, used the computer, and relaxed.

Around five we headed to the ballpark for the next two hours of baseball games. I read more from House of Secrets while waiting for the games to start – book talking it with at least five kids and one adult. I also had the chance to catch up with a former student and enroll her in the middle school book camp, talk to many students from last year and ask what they were reading, and give some parents advice about how to keep their kid reading over the summer – all while watching Luke and Liam’s teams play ball.

After dinner out with my mom, we came home just before nine. Crashing into bed I finished House of Secrets and debated what to read next as I reflected over my day.

I’ve always loved to read, but reading is a bigger part of my life now than ten years ago. I grew up loving books and always had something that I was currently reading. I know my interest waned a bit in middle school and high school. I think part of that would be just the age, but most would be the lack of choice in reading for school. This would be just one reason I’m such a proponent for choice as part of reading class.

In college I still read, but I didn’t talk about books very much. Even when I first started teaching, I loved to read, talked to my students about books, but it wasn’t the first thing people associated with me.

Now, it’s a given. Students enter my class for the first time and usually say something like – you’re that teacher who loves books. Yep, that’s me. I’m sure there are other things that people could associate me with, but the person who loves books works for me. I think books are so closely linked with my identity for a few reasons. One, I do read more than I ever have. Two, I am more vocal about reading and teaching than previously. Three, with the advent of social media, I share more of myself with a wider group than before.

Looking over my day from the viewpoint of my bed, I see all of the ways books or teaching are intertwined throughout. Why do I spend so much time reading kids books or talking to kids about reading? I know how much richer their life will be if they can just read – and enjoy it. I’m grateful for two boys living in my house who have both caught that reading bug and I will continue to help as many children as possible catch it as well. J

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers