Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The One With Books in the Wild #slice2013

     Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

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I recently participated in the book tour for Donalyn Miller's outstanding new book, Reading in the Wild. It's such an amazing book full of great ideas and lots of things that just needed to be said about kids and reading. I adore Donalyn and am so glad that she rocked this book as much as The Book Whisperer
     In honor of Reading in the Wild, I decided to register some books through Book Crossing and release them into the wild. It hasn't been as easy as I anticipated! I want to leave them where young adults might find them because I chose middle grade and young adult titles. The weather has been crazy so I didn't want to leave them outside. And as I've been visiting schools, it seems like I keep forgetting to grab books to release in to the wild. I have more book ready to be dispersed but did manage to get a few out there!
      When I was out this weekend, my sister and my friend helped me devise a plan to release a few books into a Starbucks. It just so happened the the Starbucks we happened upon was the busiest Starbucks I have ever encountered! As we neared the door, it looked busy inside but when we finally stepped in and I was able to look around, it was clear the this place was packed. There was someone sitting in every seat, there wasn't a single open spot in the whole place. Old people, young people, and people in-between were all over. One table clearly had three babbling girls and then a grumpy-looking older man who didn't seem to know the girls but who, upon seeing as there was no where else to sit, had sat with them. 
     I thought there wasn't going to be anyway I might leave my books here without being noticed or without experiencing some kind of awkward situation...but then I spotted a tall end table nestled between two armchairs. Under the tabletop was a little shelf just the right size for a small pile of books. Eureka! The only problem was that two kids sat in either armchair and across from them sat a woman who had nothing better to do than keep tabs on exactly what each person on that Starbucks was up to. 
     Operation Release Books went into effect. We went through the line to order our drinks. I conspired with my sister and my friend, discreetly - or maybe ridiculously obviously - we watched the kids and the woman sitting near our ideal drop spot. Then one of the kiddos moved over to sit closer to his family. And it was time.
     I readied myself, books in hand, I headed towards the bathroom. As I passed the table, I snuck my books into their spot and continued walking towards the bathroom. Behind me, my sister and my friend wandered towards the bathroom with their phones out, snapping pictures without being noticed. 
     Success! If anyone noticed us, I didn't notice them noticing us. Seeing as the Starbucks was so busy, I'm guessing someone will notice my books. I hope if a barista notices them, he or she leaves the books there for a  young patron to find. Maybe they'll sit there and no one will read them, maybe someone will take them home, maybe someone will donate them. It's exciting to imagine all the possibilities.
     I feel that same excitement thinking of all the possibilities for students if teachers let them become wild readers, help them become wild readers, support them as they become wild readers. Just think of the potential if we would unleash readers. Stop confining students to reading logs or whole class novel after whole class novel, AR quizzes or limited access to books. Help students find out who they are as readers. Let them explore a variety of texts, especially graphic novels and comics and digital content. Give them ways to share experiences with books with others and to celebrate those experiences. And just imagine all the possibilities - the exponential possibilities just waiting to be released. 

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