Yesterday I decided to start practicing what I preach. For 180 days of the year I teach kids to be readers and writers. However, I ....get ready people...have never finished a book in my life, let alone bought one for pleasure.
Yes, I've read countless professional books, but have I ever read for leisure? Absolutely not. I know, I know...How can I teach kids a love of reading if I myself have never loved reading? Well, that's why I'm here.
Yesterday I went to Barnes and Noble in search of my first book. I felt like a one of my First graders on the first day of Reader's Workshop. Not knowing themselves as readers yet, not knowing which book would fit them best. I needed a teacher to come help! "Can I get a conference?" I thought to myself. I usually bank left as soon as I walk in (the Children's section and Education section). Today I was making a right, and I was lost.
I walked around the fiction section thinking and browsing. "What was that book that my cousin was reading on the beach last week?" "Hmm...this one is alright." "Ok, what did she just grab, she looks my age" I was literally like Goldielocks, the character I use in my Readers Read Just Right Books Minilesson. I felt lost as I watched others around be grab exactly what they knew they wanted.
I wanted to be them. Knowing the book they wanted. Looking forward to it, like i look forward to Project Runway every Wednesday night. Knowing what they wanted before they even walked through the door. They were living the life of a reader, and that's where I wanted to be.
Then it happened. A lady in her mid forties approached the "Summer Reading" table and with a gasp grabbed a book. Now this wasn't a "oh good here it is" gasp. This was and "Oh My God I've been waiting for you" gasp. I looked at her. She looked at me. "Have you ever read Ann Patchett?" "No I haven't, is she good?" Her eyes rolled back into her head as she closed them, "Ohmygod", she said as if it were one word. She went on to tell me the background of Patchett's book Bel Canto. I could feel the emotion in her voice and could see the goosebumps on her right arm as she clutched the newest Ann Patchett novel. Our discussion was short, but powerful. She talked about Ann Patchett with me like I talk about Debbie Miller with other teachers. This was the one.
As I approached the shelf Authors by Last Name Pa-Pe I got nervous. This was THE BOOK, I felt it. As I thumbed through the books my heart sank. It wasn't there. I went to the comupter and sure enough I was in the right place and there were multiple copies in the store. I found a sales rep and she pointed me in the right direction.
"Where are you" I mumbled. Where was THE BOOK. I wasn't going to have a run in with another person like the one I had just had. "Here you go" the sales rep said.
There it was. The cover a mixture of blues swirling together. Looking like a cool swimming pool begging me to dive in. So I did. I'll let you know how it goes.