Book Rise #sol18
June 19, 2018
Yesterday morning, way before school began, the literacy center buzzed with the activity of the first grade teaching team chatting, planning, reading, and laughing as they plotted for the book selections they would reveal to their students today. Yes, three days left at school and these teachers are helping their kids shop for new books. A cart was located and the four teachers with 600 or so books divided by reading level in the subtlest of ways made their way down to the first grade hall chatting away about how the kids would shop for their book rise.
Just three weeks ago when I proposed this book rise plan to teachers, I think it is fair to say that it was met with skepticism. Our school has 500 or so students and that is a lot of books to move through the building to 26 classes, remain there for the summer and then mid-September make their way back to their home base. But the principal and I had a vision. A vision fueled by those book-writing, coaching troublemakers, Clare and Tammy. Student would be excited to show their reading selves to their rising teacher. Their rising teacher, in turn, would have ready-made book bags for the launch of workshop. The teacher would get a glimpse into their individual students’ end of year reading lives and their reading joys.
Back to yesterday morning. As I arrived in the first grade wing, the hall and the classrooms were abuzz with excited talk about the books the students were choosing. Quick discussions ensued to encourage just perusal not full scale reading of the books. Teachers noticed which books were being taken and which sections we needed to supplement with more books.
A few students make the trek down to the book room where the main collection lives. These students knew exactly what they were looking for: a specific Nate the Great to continue on their series reading, a book about snakes, a book with a dog protagonist. Some of these books came from the literacy center collection and a few came from my personal stash.
In other grades and classes throughout the school, students have been making book choices as well. Yesterday morning, I conferred with some third graders about the book glimpse they were giving their fourth grade teacher. We discussed novels that they were currently reading and what they wanted to read next. Chats were had about mysteries, biographies, book-alike novels. Some students honestly revealed much about their future thinking, their engagement in book choice, and their reading lives even to us who have been working with them daily.
In the library, students came for a book talk on broadened book choices. With their help of our librarian, the students with their teachers, heard about new series to love, book-alike to their much read popular book cousins, and new characters to love as they rise to a new grade.
Throughout the school during the last week, skepticism began to change to acceptance. My hope that some of that evolved to enthusiasm. I know that there was an abundance of student enthusiasm.
On Thursday, those books will travel in their bags with those readers to their new class. Their new teacher will read one of his/her favorites to her new students. Then those carefully chosen books will wait patiently there until school starts in August. We will have to wait until fall to see if the vision really arrives at its fruition. Will those kiddos arrive in their new classroom, those familiar chosen books will be waiting. Can’t wait to see the reunion.
Slicing along with the Slice of Life community each Tuesday. Read more amazing slices of life at twowritingteachers.org