"Lets read some more!"
"Where do you want to work this afternoon, Aaliyah?" I asked during our center planning time.
"I want to work in library." Aaliyah replied, and then paused. "Will you read to me?"
I replied that I would love to read to her, and explained that I would go to the library as soon as I was done helping the other students plan what they wanted to do during center time. I encouraged Aaliyah to go to the library and read Big Wolf and Little Wolf, one of her favorite stories. She meandered over to the library, found the book, and started narrating the story to herself. As other students walked by, she invited them to join in the songs from the book. By the time I got there, Aaliyah had nearly finished the book.
"Will you read it again?" She asked excitedly.
We settled into the pillows in the library and proceeded to read Big Wolf and Little Wolf, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Sheila Rae's Peppermint Stick, and several other stories. Aaliyah and I stayed curled up with our books for nearly thirty minutes. We read, discussed our favorite parts of the books, drew connections between stories, and had a great time.
Aaliyah didn't come to school with this zeal for books. Last year, when she first entered my class, she showed very little interest in reading at all. She rarely chose to work in the library, and even when she did, she would only stay briefly.
But in our classroom, it is pretty hard to ignore the books. We have "book bins" in all of our centers, engage in four read alouds per day, play games related to books, make graphs of our favorite books, and often share our favorite books during morning meeting. Additionally, this year I began a "Home Lending Library," so all of my students are able to take books from the classroom home to read with their families. Needless to say, Aaliyah -- and most of my other students -- quickly developed a passion for reading.
Even Suniah, who came to school with strong reading comprehension skills and an interest in books, has developed an increased love for reading. She can very clearly tell you her favorite books -- Jamaica Tag Along is her current top pick -- and draws connections between stories. Suniah seeks information from books -- last week she referenced the last page of It's Pumpkin Time when trying to remember the stages of pumpkin growth -- and often uses plots from books to guide her play.
Developing genuine love of reading in pre-k helps my students learn academic and social skills, and lays the foundation for academic success for years to come. So as Aaliyah often says, "Let's read some more!"