By Anastasia Gruper
Mrs. White made the special morning announcement, “A to Z Literacy is here today to give out free books.” The cheers that filled the classrooms (from students and adults) would have made the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes–as it did ours. As Dave, Mal, Wendy, and Alia set up the library, I was the lucky one to invite classrooms to choose books to take home. When I explained that each child could choose up to four free books, smiles exploded on faces.
Upon entering the library, there were hundreds of books displayed. Students walked around choosing just the right book. There were whispers and giggles about Captain Underpants and Diary of A Wimpy Kid. Kids read fun facts to each other from the National Geographic Weird But True books. There were endless requests for a variety of topics: armadillos, puppies, bunnies, baseball . . . For every request, there was an adult to help guide a choice.
Students didn’t just choose books for themselves. One student asked Mal, “Can I bring this one home to my sister? She would love it.” Mal announced that students could bring books to anyone they thought would enjoy them. A young boy came up to me and said, “I’m getting this one for my teacher. She loves these books. On the last day of school, I’m going to tie a ribbon on it for her. Don’t tell her.” I smiled and said, “Of course, I won’t (although it’s difficult not to tell).” The gift of giving was endless today–as was the joy of reading.
When students returned to their classes, they wanted to dive into their books. Pat reported that one of her students asked to read the Amber Brown book he chose rather than listen to read aloud. Teachers happily allowed the kids fall into the flow of reading. Today we were grateful to share the love of reading and choice of books with so many students in Crystal Lake. Happy reading everyone!