Fourth grade was a wonderful year in my reading life. I still remember the books our class read that year, and I can almost hear my teacher’s voice as she read treasured stories out loud to us. I loved my teacher that year, and I knew she loved me as well. She supported my love for books by keeping me well supplied and I had constant permission to go down the hall to the library for more.
One unfortunate day, however, my teacher walked past my seat during our spelling test, my head bowed and my shoulders hunched awkwardly over my desk. I didn’t hear her footsteps as she approached, but suddenly I sensed her presence as she stood over me. I’m sure that for a moment she thought I was cheating, but then she realized what was really happening. She knew me well—she realized that I couldn’t put my book away. I couldn’t stop reading. I could spell well without really thinking, so I was on auto-pilot in regards to my test while I focused on surreptitiously reading the book in my lap.
That wasn’t the first time I couldn’t put a book down, and it certainly hasn’t been the last. It also wasn’t the only time I’ve fervently wished I could avoid some boring activity and steal some more reading time on the side. These days I don’t get into the same sort of trouble as I used to by reading during stolen moments in class. Now I am stealing those moments from myself because I am staying up much too late to read. I still can’t put the book down!
I have two books that I can’t put down right now. One is a library book and the other is a brand-new literacy book that just came in the mail today. It’s almost like they are arguing with each other for the rights to be read at any given moment tonight! In fact, my head is so far into each of them that the subject of reading them is the only thing I can think of to blog about tonight. And as soon as I wrap this up, it will be back to deciding which to pick up once again. Believe me, if it were possible to read two books at the same time, I would do it!
“Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren has me spellbound by the story of a young girl growing up immersed in science and the fascinating descriptions of our world stretching and growing all around us. If it were possible to read a symphony, this would be it. I want to carry it around with me and read passages to students at school and adults in the grocery store. I want to ask if they’ve ever heard anything as perfect as her words about how seeds are alive, waiting to grow and then springing into life at the perfect moment. I’m only a few chapters in, and already I don’t want it ever to end.
“DIY Literacy” is a book that I’ve been waiting for over several weeks. I wrote down the release date on my calendar. I heard about it through conversations on blogs, and on Twitter. The authors then created a video series online that then made me more excited than ever to get into this book! It’s all about making our own literacy tools to use with students in conferring, working with small groups, and giving kids all the help they need in making their strategies stick. It was by my mailbox when I got home today, and I might have cheered out loud when I drove past and saw the package there. I’m only a little bit in, but already it is setting off sparks in my brain with the ideas and thinking.
So please excuse me, I am off to steal some reading time…and fortunately my fourth grade teacher is nowhere in sight! I’m home free! My wish would be that everyone has something to read that is as exciting as these two books are for me. Maybe when I’m finished, I will share. Maybe. In the meantime, happy reading!
(Credit goes to my friend Fran for the title–thank you, Fran!)