Here's how it started. It was pure magic. Jade decided to work her way through the entire Harry Potter series. She's a true fan. Favorite author? JK Rowling. Favorite character? Harry Potter. Hogwarts house? Gryffindor. So, Jade and I talk about HP a lot. A. LOT. And very soon, Ava started to read the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone. . To say that she was encouraged by Jade might be an understatement. One morning I scolded the girls for passing notes during breakfast. Only to find out that Jade was making quizzes each night and giving them to Ava in the morning!
Next, I printed some Harry Potter coloring pages on a request from...well, you know who. Rylee and William thought the Hogwarts crests were cool looking. They each took one to color. They liked them well enough to cut them out and tape them to their desks. They MIGHT have asked what color each house uses. I can't remember.
Ava started to come in on Mondays having read all weekend. She was surprised herself! Eventually, Ava caught up to Jade, who had slowed down her reading of Goblet of Fire, and the day finally came when they could read together. Usually on the girls' side of the Coat Closet Club.
Then...it was time to pick our next read aloud. I was sure we'd pick another book in the Uglies series, or maybe another Sharon Creech book. You all liked Walk Two Moons. But, much to my surprise, the class chose Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone!!! And today? Well, today I found out that Carter got three of the movies. And in the lunch line, the kids were flipping through the calendar and saw that July's photo was of Harry and Hagrid in a boat, crossing the lake to Hogwarts. And someone asked to see the picture again. And someone said, "I love that Hagrid uses the umbrella. That's just awesome."
This is what teachers dream of. That a class will transform into a community of readers. That students will pass books on to their friends, who will try something they never would have chosen to read on their own And they might discover they like it! It doesn't have to be Harry Potter (although that's the BEST of course!).
Two years ago, it was Sharon Creech who caught our imagination and ended up starting a little book club of four girls. I assigned Among the Hidden, by Margaret Petersen Haddix this year to a small reading group, and Estelle is almost done the entire series! Sean and Manny have been reading a book together for a while (under the table in the hall) while Ben discovered Gordon Korman. I love all of this. I love seeing you sit together on the coat closet floor, or lying on the rug side by side, heads bent over a book. I love that you ask if you can have free reading every day. Not because you want to 'take it easy', but because you can't wait to get your noses into your books. I get to watch Rylee work her way through Pretties every morning. I get to see you sign books out to read at home. I hear you talk about what you're reading. And complain if someone else reads from our class read aloud. It's the biggest thrill for this teacher who also loves to read.