For anyone who worries that people don't read anymore, I encourage you to spend some time at a pool. I was shocked and inspired to realize that there are books everywhere. I saw people of every age reading. From Louis L'amour to Hillbilly Elegy to Liane Moriarity to steamy romance novels: there were books in every corner. There were books from the library, from the book exchange table, and from home. There were tattered copies and new copies.
It felt like everyone was reading.
That made my teacher heart so happy. I wanted to take pictures. But, I didn't want to be creepy, so I took mental pictures instead.
My favorite moment was when my son and a friend sat at our chairs and instead of swimming, had a spirited discussion about characters from a series they're both reading: Warriors by Erin Hunter. They had so much to say about these books; they had a smart, genuine conversation that was basically what every teacher wants students to do when analyzing characters. And later this afternoon, when Jacob shared with his friend that he only had 20 pages left, she cheered.
What is this beautiful world we live in?
And how do we figure out a way to create this for students? What is it that has all these people reading?
It goes back to the elements that anchor my teaching: time and choice.
At the pool, we all have time to read. And we get to make choices about what we we want to read, whether it's People magazine or the amazing Matt de la Pena book The Living that I devoured in one day.
And so I want our classrooms to be more like the pool. It's true that we have responsibilities and duties and other things to accomplish, but I want our students to swim in words the way people do at the pool.