Read Across America Week will be here before we know it. This is always a challenging week for me. I want to celebrate but I don't want the celebration to be about the week. I want us to celebrate literacy every day all year. And I want whatever we do during Read Across America Week to be authentic. I also want it to fit into our bigger goals for our school reading community.
One thing we are doing this year is having staff begin a schoolwide conversation around living your life as a reader. We want our entire school community to begin to think about who we are as readers. One way we hope to start this conversation is by hanging posters of our lives as readers. We are hoping that by having these posters in the library, the commons area, and around the building, lots of conversations will begin. You can't help but look at some of the posters and begin to think about similarities and differences of people as readers.
As a classroom teacher I did lots of projects like this and have always found that these really helps readers reflect on who they are as readers and how they've changed. It also naturally invites goal setting as readers. And they start great conversations. When I listened to Donalyn Miller speak at CCIRA and share her schools "My Reading Life" door project, I thought it might be fun to try something similar on a whole school basis. Personally, creating this poster helped me to see how my reading has changed in recent years and how many different tools I use for daily reading. For students, we hope it opens possibilities for thinking about themselves as readers.
One of the things we are hoping with this project is that the posters show all of the ways we read. We want to value lots of reading--not only book reading. We want to see the impact of technology and we want to see how our reading lives have changed. We purposefully decided on construction paper (very large construction paper) rather than asking readers to create digital projects. We believe that the conversations students and staff will have standing around looking at these posters will change conversations around reading.
This is the invitation we gave to staff:
When do you read?
What kinds of things do you like to read? (Include not only books but also websites, blog posts, magazines, scores, etc. Anything and everything)
Who do you talk to about your reading?
Do you reread books? Which ones and why?
Do you set goals for yourself as a reader?
Do you have a favorite author or series?
Are there certain kinds of things that you don’t enjoy reading?
We are just getting our first posters in this week and we are hanging them up as people finish them. It is already fun to listen to the conversations and I can't wait til the kids start creating their own.