Monday, November 26, 2007

Living the Life of a Reader

Outside each door at Chets Creek is a sign, like the ones to the left. Each teacher records, either in words or pictures, the books that they are currently reading. Some of the books are professional reads, such as Mrs. Dillard's Impoving Schools from Within which is given to all new teachers at Chets Creek. Some are the theme-related book studies that the entire faculty participates in such as Mrs. Dillard's Inside the Magic Kingdom. Some of the books are favorite rereads such as Mrs. Mallon's The Art of Teaching Reading which is a staple of every reading teacher. Teachers also include books that they read in their own leisure time such as a Jodi Picoult novel  or the non-fiction The Assault on Reason by Al Gore.

Teachers also list their own favorite books. Some teachers include children's books such as Cheryl Dillard's Caps for Sale and Chrysanthemum. Some students ask her about the books when they realize that their teacher also loves some of the same books that they do. Other teachers include adult favorites and sometimes their peers and parents ask about the titles.

Why do we include this personal information in such a public way? First of all, when we know what our peers are reading, it gives us reasons to participate in our own book talks. It gives us reasons to ask about books and ideas and to make book and author suggestions to each other. It helps us live the life of a reader. If we also want our children to live that life, we have to model what that life looks, feels and sounds like. We have to share with the children our excitement about finding a new book, or curling up with a book on a rainy day, or going to the beach with our favorite read. We use these life lessons of being a reader in our own mini-lessons with the children. Some of our children, of course, live in homes with parents who love to read and who have shelves of their own books, but for some of our children, we are the only model that they will ever have. Isn't it the true goal of every kindergarten teacher to instill in each of her youngsters a love for reading? I don't think there is a more exciting goal than that!


Melanie Holtsman said...

I LOVE that we do this and think our next step is a longer "over time" list to archiving our reading for the year. :)

dayle said...

Melanie might be right. Maybe our next step is to think about posting our own "25 books" or "Million Words" throughout a year. We expect children to do this. How about the adults in the building? dayle