It was not a typical first week of school.
I always start my year creating our community of readers and writers, but this was very difficult because we were not sure what was going to happen. I decided to teach just a few of my beginning lessons, but leave most of them for next week when I have my "true" class.
One of the lessons I taught was "How or Why We Choose Books." I asked them if they were to go into a library or book store, what would make them pick a book from the shelf. I made a chart and listed the students' replies. This list included things like looking at the cover, read the first page, favorite author or series, and recommended by a friend.
I then had them look at the list and tell me what they noticed. What was NOT there. Eventually, they saw that "because it is in my AR level" was not on the list. I told them about a time when one of my students went to Barnes and Noble and she was so excited because her grandmother was going to buy her some books. That Monday I asked her what she bought, and she said she didn't get any because she couldn't find her level. (Totally made up story, but they don't need to know this!)
This is when I love to see their reaction. I tell them that I don't want them to choose a book because it is in their AR level. Instead I want them to choose a book because of the reasons we listed. I also tell them they do not have to take a test on every book they read. I want them to read for fun. This is foreign to them, because AR is really pushed in our corporation...but not by me.
Fast forward to our Meet Your Teacher Night. I had a parent tell me that her son came home and was so excited about reading this year because "we get to read for fun!" I know a part of that is really sad, but my reading heart was smiling because he got it! He is looking forward to reading this year.
The second day of school I was giving a spelling inventory. I looked over and a student was hiding a book inside her desk and reading in between words. I tiptoed over to her, leaned down and whispered, "Is it good?" She thought she was in trouble until I smiled at her and asked to see what she was reading. She was reading Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret, and I whispered that is was a great book. I told her I had several more by the same author that I think she would also like. My reading heart was smiling!
When I got home last night, I had a text from my sister. I always get my niece and nephew books for Christmas and their birthdays. Last Christmas I chose a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle book (something he is interested in!) and a couple of Biscuit books. He is now in the first grade and her text said that during their reading time before bed, he read the whole book himself! She said he was so proud of himself and again, my reading heart was smiling!
So no, it was not a typical first week of school, but it still made my heart smile! I can't wait until next week when I can intertwine my community building lessons with my standards lessons, build those relationships, and get us on the road to reading!
I hope your reading heart is smiling this week too!