Wednesday morning, she’s standing near my desk as class begins. “Mrs. Cornwell, I have a serious problem.”
Concerned, I offer, “What’s up?”
“I really need a new love story to read,” she responds.
Grinning, I greet her eager eyes with slow smile both because she totally got me, which is totally her style, and because I have just finished the perfect book.
“You turkey,” I say rounding the corner of my desk. “Well, you’re in luck because I just finished one such book, though you’ll probably have to go to the public library because I think it’s checked out here.”
I spend the next day at a conference in Detroit. I wonder if, on her unexpected day off from school, she was able to find her fix and lose herself in the world of words.
Monday, she comes to class clutching the book.
“I read like 200 pages this weekend. It’s so good.”
We spend the next few minutes of our library time catching up about where she’s at in the story and what she loves about the characters. We talk and walk towards the back shelf in search of the next book in the series.
We check the public library, and both breathe a sigh of relief that it’s in.
Today, I ask if she was able to pick it up. Pointing to the jacket-less text on top of her planner she recounts the tale of the ill-timed checkout at the local library.
“I had to buy it,” she confesses, and I think my reading teacher heart skips a beat.
* * *
Same book. Different student.
She’s skeptical that any love story, any main male character could surpass her all-time favorite.
I think it might.
From the moment I first started it, I began telling her to check it out.
Finally, this week, it’s returned to the library. She checks it out on Monday.
Yesterday, she bounds into my room. “OhmygoshIjustlovethisbookithastobethebestbooki’vereadinmylife!” We talk, giggle, share and swoon about the characters the love story. We talk about how it’s different than her former favorite.
“Do you see why I thought you’d love it?”
“Oh, totally,” she beams.
Twenty minutes later, we’re in the computer lab waiting patiently for the program to load.
“If I promise to do this tonight at home, where it will actually work faster, can I just read?”
I consider this. I consider the fact that the project she’s volunteering to do on her time is meant to share her understanding and opinion of a book.
“It has to be done tonight then, OK?”
Nodding, her hand automatically reaches for her book, her excitement bubbling just beneath the surface.
* * *
I’m not sure if this approach fits any standard method to teaching reading. I couldn’t tell you which assessable state standard these conversations meet. Yet, the look on their faces and these precious gifts of excitement are so worth the hours spent searching the shelves and sharing the love of reading, is progress in every sense.
This post was written as part of a monthly challenge sponsored by Two Writing Teachers, to encourage writing and community. The goal is to write a Slice of Life entry each day throughout the month of March.