“Miss Schuitema!” Maddisen shouted down the hallway at me as she hustled to catch up. “What am I going to do? Mrs. H needs Number Four back and I’m not done reading it yet! There aren’t any copies in the library. Help!”
I couldn’t help but smile at the moment, after I had calmed down Maddie by offering to lend her my copy of the book by morning. As a literacy coach, it has been my greatest joy to connect kids with books and help them stretch their reading lives. It’s been a privilege to be able to pop in and out of classrooms and talk to kids about what they are reading. I love getting emails from teachers telling me they’ve got more book requests from kids who have read everything they can find in the classroom and want more of a certain kind of book. I’ve lost track of who has what title anymore, and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that they land in the right places at the end of the year.
I’ve been thinking about how to keep that part of coaching in my life as I return to the classroom next year. I don’t want to lose touch with my “big kids” and the books they read! I’ve decided that one thing I can do is start a special little book nook in my classroom and fill it with some titles that will be different from the favorites already found in their classroom libraries. I’ve got quite a wish list started! The more I investigate all the good recommendations on the Internet, the more the list grows. I am very hopeful that the big kids will come down to second grade and continue asking me about books. It’s a good connection for me to make with them and just a small way to keep my favorite part of coaching alive.
As it turned out, Maddisen didn’t need my copy of Number Four after all. By the next morning, she had her hands on it and was happily engrossed in reading right where she had left off. She began fifth grade this year by announcing to anyone who would listen that books were boring and she hated to read—now nine months later with lots of encouragement from teachers and classmates, she is trying her best to finish her series before her school days run out. She looks a little sheepish when she is reminded about her former attitude towards reading–but she’s quick to reply that all it took was finding the right book for her to fall in love with reading anyway. That makes it all worth it. I hope someday she comes back to check out my bookshelf! I’ll be ready for her…