Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Relationships Matter #SOL19 #TWTBlog
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Slice of Life: Relationships Matter #SOL19 #TWTBlog

She practically jumps out of her boots and takes a quick look around my house.  She looks in my office as I put Riley, my dog, in the basement.  I remember her mom mentioned she doesn’t like dogs.

You have a lot of books.

I do.

She follows me into the kitchen and we sit at the table.  I have prepared a rather large stack of books for her to peruse.

So, talk to me about reading.  I heard you are looking for some new books.

I guess so.  I don’t like a lot of books.

Well, knowing what you don’t like is helpful when choosing. I heard you like Nancy Drew.

Well, kind of, but not really.  You know what I mean?

No – tell me more.

Well, the story is ok but it’s too crowded.

Wait time.

You know crowded on the page.  I don’t like when there are so many words.

This makes sense to me since she is seven.  I show her a few books in the stack to see how she feels about the amount of text.  She perks up when she sees Owl Diaries, The Princess Black and Babymouse

Why don’t you preview them and see which you like?

What do mean?

Read the back of the book blurb and take a peek inside to see what you think.

I watch her and notice she barely skims the back of the first one.

No. Not this one.

Then the second.

I don’t get this one. I don’t think I will like it.

What don’t you get?

This.

She points to the blurb.

I don’t understand it. What is going on in it?

Do you usually read the back of the book before you choose?

Nope.

Ok.  Let me show you how I find it helpful.

I model and think aloud what I notice about the book – the plot, the characters, the genre, the mood, and if it reminds of other books.

Is this the kind of book you like?

I don’t know. I just know what I don’t like.

She starts sorting the stack of books I have prepared – don’t like it (we have it in our classroom library) and I don’t think I will like it.  I notice there is nothing in the – I think I will like it – pile.  I look at my watch.  It is becoming clear that this ten-minute book shop I offered is going to take a bit more time.

Are you hungry?  Do you want a snack?

Sure.

Cookies?  Apple juice?

Yes, please.  You have all my favorite things.

I make my way over to the cabinet to get her snack.  While I am arranging the cookies, she grabs four books and heads into the living room. 

Let’s sit in here.  We can get cozy on the couch while we read.

I bring in her snack and settle in next to her.  I begin reading one of the books she chose.  She laughs while munching on a cookie.  A few pages in I feel her head rest on my shoulder. 

I like this one. 

Why do you like it?

I like that we read it together.

She reminds me that relationships matter when it comes to matching books to readers.  While I know her mom, I don’t really know her.  How could I offer her choices without really knowing her?  It amazed how quickly she determined she didn’t like certain a book.  I am wondering if she ever really gave books in those piles a chance.  I remember my conversation with her mom – Nancy Drew were her books as a child.  Once again, relationships matter.  Maybe she likes books that other readers like.

So, what did you think?

I liked it.  It was funny and I liked the relationship with her siblings even though they were not always nice.

Do you want to read the next one?  It is a series.

It is?

Yup. 

Can we read it together?

Not today.  I have an idea.  Why don’t you take it home to read it and when you finish we can talk about it when you come over to get the next book?

So, we can sit on the couch again?

Sure.  We can talk and then book swap.

Ok. 

She gets up to put her boots on, but turns back to the living room.  I see her grab the three other books. 

Do you like these?

I do.

I’ll take them too.  We can talk about them when I come back.

I hear my dog crying and sniffing under the basement door.  I know she is saying, “You better get that little girl to like dogs because it sounds like she is going to be a frequent flyer.”

Clare

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6 Comments
  • Avatar
    Diane Dougherty
    Posted at 12:59h, 25 March Reply

    A frequent flyer…and you are her airline, Clare.
    You are right about relationships being important to readers. We read aloud as a family most evenings when the kids were little. I loved those moments. It led to story-telling time on family vacations, where I read aloud as we were driving along.
    Your post brought me back to those times.
    P.S. I hope she learns to like dogs!

  • Avatar
    Tracy Vogelgesang
    Posted at 14:12h, 25 March Reply

    I loved reading this! You have planted seeds that will grow as you nurture them during your reading together times. That is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Teachers are building those relationships so the seeds we plant have fertile ground to sprout and grow strong.

  • Avatar
    JennieB
    Posted at 16:10h, 25 March Reply

    This is beautiful! And ending with your dog’s thought is perfect. The whole thing made me smile!

  • Avatar
    Heather
    Posted at 20:41h, 25 March Reply

    Great slice. Felt like I was just there with you and the little girl. Hope we get to read another one in the future about her thoughts on the books.

  • Avatar
    Mandy Robek
    Posted at 00:45h, 26 March Reply

    How sweet of you to help out this reader, share books, and offer a snack. I’ll come over for book time. I think we get rushed in and out of our classrooms and forget that books can provide connections and can be shared together. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Avatar
    Elizabeth Moore
    Posted at 11:58h, 26 March Reply

    I never would have thought to offer a snack in the midst of looking for books! Just taking that minute to take care of her changed everything. So smart.

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