enticements in reading #sol21
I have always suspected that my role for some was a book finder for themselves as teachers and also for their students. It makes sense. I am a literacy specialist after all and I live in the literacy center at our school filled with books and formerly known as the book room. However, what enfolded last week caught me off guard.
The literacy center/book room is currently in upheaval. We received a chance infusion with a large grant for both diverse texts and to build the book back from the devastation of the past year of book movement. While in the midst of shifting things piece by piece, on any given day at any given time, it can be overwhelming ever for me.
So when I find a note in a pile from a teacher asking to drop by and see her that ‘we need help’, I didn’t know if she still needed the help and if this note was from this week or from some time in the distant past. Sigh…. I thought it might not hurt to check in so when I saw her in the teacher work room, i asked if she had dropped by earlier.
I had no idea what she might need or ask about. Really none. She turned with a smile and said Oh, my friend (student) and I dropped in today because I told him YOU were the person that could find him a book he would like to read. He says all books are boring.
This is definitely the kind of project I love. A challenge to find a book, to shop for books with a reader. I came right down to her classroom. It’s been so long.
I didn’t know this young reader. When I arrived at the room, I made the decision to take him to our school library, a room the students haven’t visited since March of 2020. None of the students have seen our librarian in real life in her natural habitat for so long and she hasn’t had a chance to do what she is really best at, help individual student find a perfect book.
This plan is starting to feel like a WIN-WIN… WIN, WIN, WIN!
So I scoot down the hall to this second grade and collect my book shopper. On the way to the library, I start asking questions about books… They went something like this…
Me: What kind of books do you like?
Shopper: I really don’t like any book.
Me: (in head) Oh jeez! Per usual, a tough customer. (aloud) Ok then… do you like books like Dogman?
Shopper: Haven’t read it…
Me: Graphic Novels?
Me: (in my head) Oh… I see why the closer was brought in… (aloud) So short book? funny? animals? boys? sports?
Shopper: Funny I guess.
Me: (in my head) Pressure’s on. (aloud) Ok, here’s the plan. We’ll find a few books. Read a little in each and see if we can find something that’s just right. Ok?
Shopper looks at me skeptically.
I greet the librarian, explain our plan. She sized him up. I see her brain start working. We pick out a 6-8 books together quickly, sorting as we go. Our shopper doesn’t say much as we ask him questions as we go. In a few minutes we have our stack and I invite our shopper to have a seat on the couches with me and try out a few books for size.
I can feel his skepticism pouring off him as I say, why don’t you read a chapter of this one and see how you like it?
He tries most, rejecting a few without even trying based on cover or title or… self preservation.
Finally, we have a stack of four books. Mostly simpler reads. Captain Awesome. Turbo. Flying Beaver Brothers.
I’m feeling pretty good about it. He seems ok.
Hopefully, my reputation as a ‘book seller’ is still intact. We shall see.
I’ll be checking in with him to keep it going. Let’s see if I still have the touch.