Come on, people. This is a family show. (eye roll)
In the spirit of honesty, I'm just going to own it: I'm a total book snob. I can't help it, it was how I was raised. When your father is a high school English teacher, you learn to respect books. Good books. Books worthy of reading. We've already established that I love books. (Books I Love Link) I won't continue to go there but I just wanted to make sure you had the background to appreciate where I'm going with this. Stick with me.
When I was a kindergarten teacher, I carefully chose the books that graced my shelves. If there wasn't a Caldecott* or a Carle** on the cover, I scrutinized it very carefully. Only the best books made the cut & I felt great about it. Everyone didn't share my sentiment. Scholastic book orders would go home & come back with multiple orders of Dora the Explorer. I used to think to myself, "Didn't they see the beautiful book on page 2? Why would they order that junk?" Obviously, they didn't know what I knew about good literature.
When I decided to become a SAHM, those same beautiful books came home with me. I immersed my children in detailed, vibrant stories with award-winning illustrations. I scoffed at the "junk" in the book orders. My goal in all of this: to instill a love of reading that mirrored my own. I wanted my boys to run to the library & get lost in the sea of words & rich language. I wanted them to eagerly anticipate the arrival of the next book in the series, to wait with baited breath to find out what happens next.
Be careful what you wish for...
Fast forward 7 years & it's curriculum night in my son's first grade class. I'm there basically to make sure I don't miss something vital, but I'm prepared for a snooze fest since I already know most of this stuff. I'm a veteran teacher, I've got this.
The teacher starts talking about reading & how the school assesses reading levels. She talks about the goal for the end of the year & how she's going to challenge children who are already reading at or above that goal.
And then she said something that blew my mind:
"When children reach a certain reading level, I no longer monitor what they're reading. They can choose from any book bin."
Uh.... okay. I can get on board with that, I guess. A little freedom is always a good thing.
And finally came the kicker:
"I don't care what they're reading as long as they're reading."
I'm sorry... what?
You don't care what kids are reading.
Is this for real? I'm sitting in a classroom with a highly regarded teacher in one of the best school districts in the state & she doesn't care what my kid is reading?
I'm going to need a minute.
She went on to finish:
"In my experience, I've found that children are more likely to enjoy reading when they are reading something of high interest. Once your child has mastered the necessary skills, I want to develop a love for reading that extends throughout your child's lifetime."
Okay, now I can get on this train.
I decided to go with it. God has blessed me with bright kids so we met that goal quickly & my son was free to choose whatever he wanted to read. He bounced along a couple of different series before landing on this one:
The irony is not lost on me.
But you know what? He loves to read, like I love to read. He eagerly waits for the next book in the series & buries himself in it until he's finished. He can't wait to find out what happens next. His Captain Underpants is my Babysitters Club. And that I completely get.
Read on, caped wonder. Preferably with your pants on.
*Caldecott is an award bestowed on only the best in the kid-lit world
**Carle is Eric Carle; if you have little kids & don't know him, shame on you
What's on your bookworm's list? Share with me in the comments or on twitter @preschoolmomma