Read all of it before you come with pitchforks!!!!
As a self proclaimed bibliophile, I have bookshelves upon bookshelves of books from my early childhood well into my various college and graduate courses. My parents were amazing and even have the box of all of my papers from kindergarten and first grade. Some may say it may border on being a hoarder, but it really pains me when I think of families who throw out outgrown books like old clothing.
Imagine that first book that you loved so much when you were a child. It got you interested into reading. It is timeless, it was your gateway book. For some people, you don’t know what book that is until you get much older. You know what book that is because you have read it so much that you need tape and other mediums to keep it together. During my presentation, one of my families stated that they would throw out the Junie B. Jones books that his daughter reads so much that she doesn’t read anything else. The teacher in me says sure, “Go ahead put the book away,” but the bibliophile in me says “NO!!!! PLEASE DON’T!!!”
When a child finds the book that gets them into reading, it is always good to keep the book around. It reminds students of where they came from as a reader and should be kept as a memento for when they are reading five million text books. Books are a part of her childhood. By throwing the book away instead of just putting it away you are forcing them to lose a piece of their innocence.
The early chapter books and comic books are like candy to reading children. It may not be helpful to their reading levels, but it will help sustain their love of reading. They revisit those books when times get hard or need a familiar adventure.
Should they be reading these books every night? Probably not. It is okay for them to indulge in these books once in a while. You would never feed your child McDonalds or Chick-fil-a for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but you could give it to them once in a while as a treat. It is a reward. Reading a comic book or other book is like candy or McDonalds (Chick-fil-a), they are a reward, however you don’t have to do away with them completely.
So please, don’t throw out books just because your child has outgrown them. Let them decide which books are timeless and make them excited to read. Ultimately it will help them to keep their childhood.
This weekend I had the pleasure to present to families about the habits of great readers. I love doing these developments because I am able to really talk in depth to a family about their child and their work especially as it relates to reading. We started by talking about how we would eat properly and have a balanced diet of food. I took the idea of the now defunct food pyramid and related it to reading. Something told me that this would make this sticky for our families. They loved it. Here is the graphic. This week I will unpack what this all means. Let me know about your thoughts.
So imagine this, your students come to your class early, grab their reading discussion books and just start reading…to each other. No directions were on the board, in fact you aren’t even there yet, however no one would know because these children are reading and facilitating their own discussions without adult hand holding.
Any classroom teacher would say it has to do with the routines and procedures. They would say that I must set them up early on in the year and gave them the expectations. To be honest, I would say it had less to do with routines, and more to do with how much these children love literacy. They love to discuss it with each other. They love to read to each other and justify their answers. In order to be successful with their discussions, they had to read the night before to participate or they would be lost. They have such high investment because of the discussions. They get to to talk to each other not to me, their teacher and let me tell you it just overjoys my heart.
For most children it takes one book that gets them to read forever. For my children it was a series of books. The group of children I work with are what educators would classify as reluctant readers. There are a series of interventions, prescriptions, and plans for getting them to read on grade level. I think what made me successful with these amazing readers helping them to read and access books that they can fall in love with. They are excited to come to class to find out what happens next and now that they can take the book home they just want to ensure that they read some more, even beyond the requirement.
The difference between a reluctant reader and a avid reader is the keystone book or author. As educators, parents, or friends who have friends who have children, it is important to keep introducing children to keystone books. They make the most of difference.