Book Rise #sol18

IMG_1510Book 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.

img_1473In 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.

img_1471On 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.

img_1716-1Slicing along with the Slice of Life community each Tuesday.  Read more amazing slices of life at

10 thoughts on “Book Rise #sol18

  1. I’m so glad acceptance took over! We started this last year, k-2, and the fall was glorious! Kids just picked up right where they left off. I hope you experience the same. This year we expanded k-5!

  2. What a wonderful endeavor! As the school librarian, I focus on summer reading during those last weeks of school…but haven’t thought about extending the list into the beginning of next year. Brilliant!

  3. “[S]kepticism began to change to acceptance.” What bridges your reading community is building! Thanks for sharing these inspiring examples in all their complicated messiness.

  4. Crying too hard to type – tears of joy!!! Thank you for inviting us along for the journey – truly warms our hearts and ignites our minds. These students are so lucky to have dedicated, caring, knowledgeable educators who are willing to try new ideas and work together to benefit the children they teach.

  5. WOW. What an incredible experience for the students and the teachers! You’ll have to write another post in the fall to tell us what a difference it makes at the start of the year. I love that the kids know themselves as readers (and therefore think of themselves AS READERS), and that their new teachers will know their reading selves right away! So cool!

  6. When I think back on myself as a young reader I have no recollection of anything like what you describe to support my love of reading. And I doubt whether anyone, including teachers, was especially interested in what I was reading. Somehow my love of reading persevered. I finished reading what you wrote with a sigh…wondering how I would have responded to such loving attention paid to myself and other young readers. You are encouraging a lifelong love of reading….the greatest gift a teacher can pass on to students.

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