Celebrate Book Love!

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Today I bought my class pizza. They were delighted – and so was I. This year I have fully committed to daily free reading in my Grade 10 English class. I am teaching the “lower” track English class, and not all of my students see themselves as readers. (To be fair, some do – some read a lot – but others do not read at all.) I am determined to give them enough reading time that they have a chance to experience what reading is like. I am determined to meet them where they are without judgment and to guide them forward with joy.

Now, I’ve tried choice reading before, but I never quite figured out how to make it work. Usually some kids loved it and some kids hated it, and eventually we gave it up. This year, I came to class full of ideas and strategies from Penny Kittle & Kelly Gallagher. Book Love and 180 Days are my inspiration (even though – full disclosure – I haven’t yet finished all of 180 Days yet.) I don’t have a real classroom, so no classroom library, but I gained an ally in our school librarian and we have free reign on a daily basis. And I’m really working to find the right book for each kid.

Last week marked 5 weeks of school, 1/4 of the semester – and it also marked the day we reached our first class goal of 10 books read. TEN. They thought I was crazy when I first suggested that. And today we hit 11 – and two are nearly done with another book apiece! This is practically a miracle. First of all, until last week we only ten students were attending class (an eleventh has joined us now). Second, when I surveyed my students at the beginning of the year, I found out that most of them read either one book (for English, and not entirely on their own) or none last year. Now some of my students are on their second or even third book. Our revised goal is 40 books, and the students are excited.

So today I ordered pizza to arrive during the last 15 minutes of class, and we celebrated. Because reading is joyous and milestones are worth noting. I let you know when we hit 40 – bet we get there faster than they think we will.

Let’s celebrate!

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15 thoughts on “Celebrate Book Love!

  1. How wonderful! I think amazing things happen for readers when we make time for reading and work diligently to book matchmake (one of my favorite things about my job!). Your students thought 10 was an impossible goal, and now they want to shoot for 40! Magic! And very deserving of pizza.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great moment to celebrate! It’s so much fun to see high school students reading! I can’t wait to hear about your students’ growth!

    Like

  3. I finished Ghost last week (your kids might like it)…and now I’m reading Educated – a memoir by Tara Westover (you might like it). Do I get to have pizza?
    It is one of the things I love about elementary school, that kids get to choose books and actually spend significant blocks of time just reading and talking about books. It’s one part of the day that always feels right, like we’ve made a space for what matters. I get the sense that that is space that’s much harder to create in high school. Your kids are lucky that you’re committed to doing that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a wonderful celebration. I love how you are embracing allowing your students to find themselves as readers. Meeting them at their level. Kuddos to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s teachers like you that make me have hope in our future, our profession. That simple gesture of celebrating will live in your students’ hearts for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

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