With the last week of school officially starting today, I am looking at the week and what we will be doing to close out the year. One of the things I am doing with my grade 7 class is Reading Autobiographies. A friend of mine shared a coworkers post about them and I was inspired. I would link here but I lost it.
I started by writing my own little reading memoir to share with my class.
We read through it and I shared my reading experiences. Kind of like a big book talk. Then I extended the exercise to my students. At first, I was greeted with a lot of “I can’t remember the books my mom read to me!” or “there are no books that stick out.” Slowly but surely though moments of excitement erupted. Finding a book that they remembered, Clifford’s Halloween or A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch. They talked about their first novels and the books they have read over and over. They talked about the lessons they learned about the importance of being honest from The Berenstain Bears or the importance of taking a bath from Pete the cat.
Through the process, my students recognized the impact and role that books really played in their lives. How they have attached them to memories with little effort. That is the power of books. It isn’t in getting kids to answer questions or write reports. The power of books is to become a part of peoples stories.
I think the field of education is so concerned with kids being marked and making sure a book is a “good fit” that we forget that first books should be a part of our lives. They should be those fond memories that we can recall.
The marks and questions will come with time but they will also fade. No child fondly remembers their first AR test or Star reader exam. They remember their first novel, their first picture book, the story their mom read to them at night or the book they read as a family.