The energy of 20 first graders is exciting, comical and often overwhelming. The first two days of school have been busy and crazier than normal. Despite the craziness, I am feeling like my job everyday is to show them a love for reading so they love to read. I am determined to alter the thoughts of some of my kids who do not yet see themselves as readers. I have already had two students say to me..."I can't read." Can't we start labelling kids as readers in pre-school when they read a story according to the pictures? Or even before that? I would call my 2-year old niece a reader because she loves books and reads them with my sister and then in her own way to my sister. This phrase (I can't read) feels like kids don't see themselves as readers.
My mission for the past day and now for the rest of the week is to help my students redefine and rediscover what reading is for themselves. Today we read Baby Bears Books by Jane Yolen. We then thought about all the kinds of reading Baby Bear experienced throughout the day. He was read to, picture read(you know...browsed the pictures), read books he already knew the words to, read with his brother and read by himself. This thinking helped us think about the reading we like to do with books. What kind of reading do you like to do? (I asked) Here is what I heard..."I like to look at the pictures and tell the story in my head, I look at the words and the pictures when I read, I look at the pictures when I read and I look at the sounds in words and then I read." I feel like this is a good start to understanding reading. We needed to have this conversation.
We each searched for our first book to place in our personal book bins and then shared what kind of reading we would be doing with that book. The choices varied and the kinds of reading varied but we were all on one playing ground...reading (and liking it)! I think it was wonderful to establish a sense of respect for each other as readers and learners. We all are in different places and that is ok!