Connecting students with books is one of the most challenging, yet most important part of my job as an ELA teacher. For me, it is also the most enjoyable part. But when I have the support from the teachers around me, my job becomes much easier.
A month ago, I convinced a fellow teacher and basketball coach to read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander. He loved it, as I knew he would. Reading this book allowed him to start conversations with our students which led to the creation of "Mr. Connor's Crossover Club." The club is open to anyone who has read the book. But here's the kicker - kids are now begging to read this book...and I teach middle school students.
I asked my colleague what made him decide to do this.
"After talking about my reading experience in class, I noticed several students were reading The Crossover. I wanted to show my excitement over the number of students reading the book, so we created our new club. Kids are excited about being in it. I even had one student go directly to your classroom to get the book and come back to show me that she was now 'in the club'."
This experience is just one example of how our own reading lives are important to students. Taking the time to share books we read and making students a part of a reading
club culture is a key to creating lifelong readers.
If we want to show students the joy in reading, it must go beyond the ELA teachers and the ELA classrooms. It takes the entire school community. We don't need incentives or points or prizes. We need the simple act of every teacher sharing our reading lives and placing great books into students' hands.
Just imagine if each of our colleagues read a book and shared it with students like Mr. Connor did, what a reading revolution we could start in our schools.