Friday, June 24, 2011
At the end of the year, when everything is so exhausted you can't remember what it was all about, I had a moment this morning where I could see it again clearly. Today, I had the fourth and final read-a-thon with my fourth graders. Each quarter we have had a day entirely devoted to reading and it has been one of the most rewarding things to spread a love for reading to my students. They get so excited about the read-a-thon: they bring blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and their favorite books. I bring popcorn and a book in Spanish and join them on the floor to read. Every ten pages they read, they take a green paper circle to tape to a caterpillar that started in one corner of the room and has slowly wrapped its growing green body around the walls of our classroom representing our collective reading and our collective love for it. Today, since it was our final event, I opened the event to parents or family members. Several parents came today and I think they found it quite confusing as they walked into a silent room. How could their child be so excited, talking nonstop about a silent, no frills event? Could this really be it? Our school focuses so much on throwing parties and having big shows and performances as the events the students share with their parents. And here I was, inviting them for a quiet moment on the floor with their child. It was so touching to see. One student was particularly inspiring to see; a girl who struggled and hated to read in the beginning of the year brought her busy-and-important politician father, in his designer work clothes and fancy shoes, to come and join her to read together. She was wrapped up in a blanket as they shared a book together on the floor. It was such a lovely and simple thing. In an affluent community, these types of moments are not the ones that get the glory. But the love for reading, the love for reading together that my parents gave to me, shared with me, raised me on... beyond all the data and doubts and difficulties when trying to sum up accomplishments at the end of a school year... this is one thing I know I have shared with my students.