Reading is the Best Part of the Day

Rainy ReadingIt was a dark dreary morning, the kind of morning where you long to stay under the covers with a good book. That’s the sentiment my fifth grade colleague and I commiserated with each other recently on the way to school. Then he said, “Let’s do it,” and the Rainy Reading Readathon was born! When we told our students that we were going to get comfy and read that morning they were just as excited as they would have been if we had announced extra recess. Yes, skills and strategies are important, close reading is important, talking about books is important but what is most important is giving students time just to read. A few weeks later while having a conference with two of my students they told me that, “Their hearts hurt,” after reading “Inside Out and Back Again.” My heart was rejoicing! After finishing “The Well” by Mildred Taylor all my students applauded and in their reflections they spoke about all their feelings as they scrambled for the Taylor books in our classroom library. The power of read alouds cannot be underestimated. When another colleague suggested we participate in March Book Madness, we couldn’t keep the books on the shelves. We rounded up multiple copies from all over the school and the excitement was so contagious that we needed to have post its with waiting lists on the back of the books. What a problem to have! Last week, one of my students came up and asked if I would recommend a book. “Well I know you always have a book recommendation,” she continued. We headed to the classroom library and I proceeded to pull out one after another commenting on why I loved them and she looked at me with a smile and I had to smile too and say, “Yup, I love a lot of books.” And this week, one of my students brought in a book he had finished for a Hebrew School project bursting to tell me all about it. I have spent today, another dreary dark day under the covers just reading that book so I can talk with him about it on Monday. Thank you students for reminding me to keep independent reading at the top of my planning. As Jessica would say, “Reading is the best part of the day!” I couldn’t agree more, Jessica.