Admire

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.

slice-of-life_individual

16 thoughts on “Admire

  1. Oh how many times have I wanted to make a book last and last…Barbara Kingsolver, J.K. Rowling. How fun to see this thought come from one so young. Here’s to the books that make us never want to finish them!

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  2. Love this story… It’s such a gift to be able to have a chat with a student about their reading life and a particular book. This reminds me of a Reunion talk I heard with Mary Ehrenworth where she talked about book progressions. I don’t know that book that he was reading, but perhaps you can find him a book-alike.

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  3. What I admire about this conversation is the way you asked questions and LISTENED to the reader. Instead of doing what you may have been planning to do (get kids to increase their reading volume), you listened to the reader and honored him. You made a choice based on what you know real readers do/feel – The sadness of losing friends you have just met, gone through something with, and aren’t ready to leave behind.

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  4. You made me cry!! I loved how you slowed the piece and admired Frank just as Frank was admiring his book. So much to say about your impact as a teacher — this is such a powerful conference. This line: “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.” Priceless!!! Thank you for sharing this slice. Truly warmed my heart.
    Clare

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  5. This is the DATA that cannot be collected as a “number” or as a “color”. This is the data that moves a reader and/or a writer even when . . .”I kind of don’t want it to be over.”

    Gorgeous slice! ❤

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  6. What I love about writing is that it comes across so differently, sometimes more powerfully than that the spoken word. This is the case here. I heard this story from your mouth to my ears, but reading it here, the way you have deliberately crafted this slice with words and emotions, makes the moment with Frank so meaningful! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Oh, I love this! I’ve felt that way so many times about books that I don’t want to end. I’ll read a page, put it down…come back and read a page…put it down.. I love that this kiddo is experiencing this joy already, and that you are supporting him in that.

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  8. Frank is a reader through and through!!! I can completely relate!! I felt the same way when I read A Man Called Ove…I didn’t want it to end.

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  9. Oh, I think every reader can identify with that feeling of not wanting the experience to be over. I felt this way with Ms. Bixby’s Last Day. I actually stopped reading it because I did not want it to end. Beautiful slice!

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  10. How do we put this into the statistics? We can’t. Yet, this is reading at its best. Thank you for sharing this slice, for crafting it so well it drew me in for a second slow reading. 🙂

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  11. Loved reading your post, and have many books I did not want to end. There is so much to learn from talking to children about the books they are reading. I especially love when they bring a character from previous books into a discussion on another topic.. you know they have that character on their mind.

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  12. Such a beautiful slice here! All of us can identify with wanting to savor, to not leave those people with whom we’ve shared so many experiences within the pages of books. What a lovely conundrum…volume, or the lengthening of love for a series? Thanks for sharing this powerful and thought-provoking slice!

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