In the course of our day, my kids have a nice chunk of independent reading time in mid-afternoon. By that time, we’ve worked hard on all kinds of things and they are usually more than ready to settle in to a comfortable spot and enjoy being immersed in their books.
Today one of my boys was restless. He wandered around a bit in search of a reading spot. He slung his book bin onto his desk with a bit of disinterest. Finally he told me what was on his mind. He absolutely, positively could not find anything that he wanted to read.
He meant it. He recited a long list of titles and told me how much each one disappointed him. He hadn’t finished anything in a long time and was losing hope that he would find something good to read. I gave him a few suggestions, but he didn’t seem optimistic. We put together a pile of titles to try out, and he agreed to give it a shot. Our goal lately has been to read long and strong with longer texts and to investigate various series, so he grabbed books that he thought would fit the bill.
Then he walked past a book someone had left lying on the floor and picked it up to put it away. He flashed the cover at me and asked “Is this actually a chapter book?”
“Yes,” I said. “I think some of the other kids have been reading those. Go ahead and try it.”
He walked off and found a spot on the floor to read. I was pretty discouraged and started looking for other titles that we may have overlooked. Before long, though, I was distracted and went on to confer with other readers.
I didn’t think about him again until my phone alarm went off and we hustled down the hall to the playground for recess. There he was in the middle of the line, one arm in his coat sleeve and the other hanging free, weaving down the hallway with the slow steps of someone not watching where he was going, with his nose in the book he had picked up from the floor. He was so engrossed, he ignored recess altogether and stood by the bushes reading his book the whole time.
His smile on the way back to the classroom said it all. His day was made, and so was mine.