"I'm excited because the kids are excited"

Music to my ears. That's what this comment was.

During her planning today, a third grade teacher shared, "I'm excited because the kids are excited." What was she talking about? Reading.  You see, they came to the library yesterday for a kickoff of a "20 book challenge." 20 books in the last quarter of the year!

I started our lesson with sharing my reading story with the kids~ and how when I was their age I remember getting help with my reading. For me, it was tough to figure out homonyms with identical spellings. How did I work around it? Read and reread until it made sense.

I continued sharing that I didn't really enjoy reading because someone was always telling me what to read~ or what questions to answer~ or what book report to do~ or take a quiz/test/define the words. Reading was always WORK and never "just because."  So I shared that a few years ago I tried to find the joy of reading- and did the book challenge. Now, I can't get enough reading!

What was next? We read a book. 23 third graders, a teacher and I read one of my favorite picture books: Let's Do Nothing by Tony Fucile.  There was laughter. There was fun. There was joy.

S: But Mrs. Ramsey- that's a picture book. You're going to make us read chapter books. We'll never get done.
Me: Well- that's not true! Your teacher and I have decided that we want you to read at least 1/2 of your books from the Everybody section.
S: Really? We are still allowed to read picture books?
Teacher: Absolutely! I want you to read a lot of things!

You could feel the change in the students. They started smiling.

Me: So, you guys were laughing at parts of the book that I wasn't reading- there were no words. How did that happen?
S: We read the pictures. We had to read and study and think about what was happening next. So we really were reading.
Teacher- smiling and nodding in the back. And I think a little surprised at the eloquence with the answer!
Me: So you thought about what you were reading? That's what I want. For you to read and think.

We revisited the book and asked some "I wonder" questions:

  • I wonder how many paintings Van Gogh painted in his lifetime? 
  • I wonder who was the ape climbing the Empire State Building? 
  • I wonder why dogs sniff the ground before they pee? 
  • I wonder why the brain always works? 
We made a Venn Diagram comparing Frankie and Sal. 

We read. We thought. We reflected. We responded. We had fun. 

I look forward to the next several weeks, and seeing their thinking captured on paper. Whether it's a picture, a list of "I wonder" questions, a keyword or idea, a Venn Diagram, or an eloquent paragraph~ I'm excited to see the results of reading for fun, and the capture of the thoughts by their pens. 

P.S. The teacher wants to start this at the beginning of next year, and make it 40 books! 


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