Thursday, April 19, 2012

It Really is the Small Things

I remember devouring Debbie Miller's book Reading With Meaning soaking it all in, word for word. This book transformed my practice and I can't remember how I taught before reading this book. I can't even plan without thinking about what the chart will look like.

Small Things~
Debbie shared many great ideas in this book. One idea really stuck in my head but was slow to become a part of our classroom. Debbie shared how when a book  reminded her of a child, she picked that book for the child. The next day she left the book along with a special note for the child. This idea stuck with me, but it wasn't until this week that I felt the power of these small things.

The "Gifts"~
As I  was conferring with the readers in the midst of a non-fiction study I noticed a few kids who were having difficulty locating  non-fiction books on topics they were wondering about,  some who were struggling to read challenging non-fiction text because they liked the topic and others were so excited about their topics they just couldn't get enough books!
That evening I found myself at the public library with all these thoughts swirling in my head. I took a break from browsing the picture books and wondered over to the non-fiction books. Finding book after book that seemed to scream out a child's name, snakes for Jacob, bumble bees for Jason, sunflowers for Bailey, and horses for Lily! I added about 10 books to my basket and headed to checkout. (I now have THREE full library cards!) As I left the library I couldn't wait to put these books directly in the hands of the readers, knowing each one was exactly what they were looking for!

The Delivery~
Well the delivery did not let me down! I added a quick personal note on each book and left the books at each student's seat, ready for them as they came into the classroom. As the kids came in I saw a few puzzled looks, I heard a few questions, "Why do you have that?" "It's from Mrs. Frazier for my bee research." Kids were reading the new books, sharing the book and conversations with neighbors and then all of a sudden I felt a warm hug, "Thank you Mrs. Frazier I love snake books."  This was a moment teachers dream about. Little did I know the best was yet to come. During our morning meeting each child brought their  new book to the meeting and shared their newest learning! I was so proud to see they had already begun to pull new information from their reading and the books were so welcomed!

The "gift giving" was spontaneous and purposeful the kids could not have been more appreciative! I hope I can repeat this gift for other readers soon! This was a small thing with HUGE rewards! It really was "Happy Reading" as Debbie would say!


Jill Fisch said...

What a great post. I don't really have an in-depth comment but I just wanted you to know that this made me smile. Isn't this what it is all about?

debf said...

Thanks Jill! I am haooy to know I made you smile~ smiles~

Nicole said...

I love this idea! I can just imagine the kids faces when they realized they'd found what they needed. 3 library cards are maxed out! That's impressive!

I will file this idea away for next year. Thanks

debf said...

Thanks Nicole! Please don't follow this post in maxing out your library cards!

katied said...

Love this post Deb and little voices saying thank you for books. It has to be the best gift (and free)!