Lynn has been back with her class for three weeks having returned from her maternity leave. She has repeatedly told many people how much her class has grown – especially as readers.
We stood in the middle of the room, right after the mini lesson. We were just looking at all the readers scattered around the room. Some were sitting in a sea of books while others were sitting beside neatly stacked piles. They all had a book in hand.
Lynn leaned in and whispered as she pointed to Joe.
“It’s engagement. He has such a hard time staying focused.”
“I know. He definitely benefits from small groups and conferencing to keep him going.”
Lynn and I shared this quick exchange at the beginning of her Reader’s Workshop.
She and I went off and met with our small groups. The room was noisy quiet with readers.
While my group was practicing their new comprehension strategy, I glanced around the room and my eyes stopped at Joe. He was sitting on the floor leaning against the computer table leg. He was sitting criss cross and the book was nestled in his lap. His head was down and I could hear his voice lifting every word off the page. I watched him and then returned to my group. When the small group had finished. I walked around to confer. Joe came up to me in the middle of a conference and said “Mrs. Sherriff, I just read this whole book!” “I noticed you were reading the group and I were working! What are your reading?” I asked. “It’s Mouse Soup. Mrs. Hauser said it was a challenge book, but I just read it and it’s really good.” “That is great Joe. I guess Mrs. Hauser knew you were ready for the challenge.” He shook his head, returned to his reading spot, and began to read Mouse Soup again.
That afternoon, I was back in Lynn’s room for a bonus reading time. Lynn and I wanted to see what would happen if we ended Wednesday’s with a bonus reading time. This was our first day. We told the class that we thought the class was ready for this, “Only readers who are ready, get bonus time.” Putting a positive spin on it, when in actuality her group just need more eyes on print time. Lynn and I watched the readers get settled, just as we had in the morning. Joe went right to the same spot he had been in early in the day, against the computer table leg, and pulled out Mouse Soup. He read the whole bonus reading time. I could hear him.
This morning, I popped into Lynn’s room as the kids were entering the building and getting settled. Joe came running up to me! “Guess what, Mrs. Sherriff? I read Mouse Soup AGAIN last night. My mom was so impressed! I love the ending!” He went on to talk about the book and what he thought about it!
Was this the same reader that Lynn and I said had engagement issues the day before?
Sometimes all it takes is one good book.