Twelve teachers filter into the classroom, armed with questions to gather research. Research about kids and their reading lives. What are they reading? How did they choose that book? How does their reading log look now, inside of a nonfiction unit of study? How did their reading life look a few months ago during a fiction unit? What book will they read next?
Our Teachers College Staff Developer has reminded us for two years now about the importance of volume when thinking about growing readers. The number of minutes matter. The number of pages matter. What can help our kids to grow? Series they love. Authors they love. Genres. Today, our mission is to see how it was going. How are our kids doing?
As teachers settle in beside kids, I look for someone to chat with. Frank. I enjoy talking to Frank.
“What are you reading?” I ask as I kneel down beside him.
“Terrible Two,” he begins. “I got it for Christmas. I started it then forgot about it. I’m just getting back into it.”
We chat for a few minutes about how it was going, what he likes about the book. Then I ask, “So when do you think you’ll be done with this one?”
His big eyes avoid mine. “Oh…a few weeks,” he hesitates.
I flip back through the pages and notice he is more than half way through the book. “A few weeks? Why do you think it will take that long?” I ask.
At that point, Frank had picked the book up from the table and is just about hugging it to his chest. “Well you know. There aren’t that many books in this series. I kind of don’t want it to be over… I want to, you know, admire it.”
I nod and smile. “Kind of like savor the book?” I add because I do know that feeling. Not wanting a book to end. The sadness of losing friends you have just met, gone through something with, and aren’t ready to leave behind.
I know my mission is to inspire independence in taking charge of one’s reading life, to read more and more. But in that moment, I want to honor this need to go slow. I pat Frank’s shoulder as I walk away smiling.