#9 – Building Community with Books

This basket of my (mostly*) favorite books was something I shared with my students for many years. I went through my history as a reader, from the very beginning, including an original Bobbsey Twins and Curious George and a book I read obsessively called Follow My Leader, about a young boy who lost his sight due to firecrackers exploding in his face and who eventually gets a guide dog named – you guessed it – Leader. I would describe a little bit about each book and how it fit into my life as a reader. The students would then do the same, bringing in their favorites and sharing them with their tablemates. And thus reading became fun.

Of course, there were those who never brought a book in, despite being given enough time to look for books at home or visit the library. And there were those who truly didn’t have a favorite book, as they really weren’t read to at home – ever. Although they certainly had access to many books in school, it just wasn’t the same.

Eventually, the Internet became an easy way to “get it done,” as students would just Google a list of “favorite children’s books” and print the covers – which I allowed, as long as they wrote something about what the book was about to go along with them. But even that was sometimes forced or copied.

Eventually, as other activities took over, this one went away. Was it the time I no longer had – taken up with new units of study, pre- and post-testing, and learning stations? I want to blame all of that, because it’s easier than blaming the fact that for so many (but not all!) of my students, books just didn’t seem to matter as much anymore.

How many times have you reread your favorite childhood book?


* A Mango Shaped Space was not one of my favorites when I was young, as it didn’t exist then. This book was in the basket, most likely, because as a student was skimming through it, I asked everyone to come back to their seats, and it seemed a convenient-enough place to put it. On the plus side, it looks like someone was looking at my Bobbsey Twins book!

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