by Yvonne Yates
Director of School Services, KLRN
Watching a student spellbound by a book has to be one of my favorite things to see. The way that the whole world is shut out and the only thing that matters is what the author has written. Then again, I think that all teachers feel this way at one point or other.
Not too long ago, I walked into a high school classroom to observe and saw one of the most amazing things…all of the students were sitting on the floor as the teacher was reading a children’s book. Yes, this was a high school class. They were mesmerized as the teacher changed her voice to add drama to each character. This was her way of introducing her lesson. She read to them for five minutes, taught her lesson and in a mere twenty minutes, the classroom once again looked like an AP Junior English class.
It was fascinating to see a high school teacher entrance her students with the techniques that a kindergarten teacher uses. As we grow older, the child inside each of us often dies. This teacher made me think of a colleague who once dressed up as Christopher Columbus to introduce a series of books about Columbus’ journey from different points of view. She went as far as renting a period custom that included a wig. This is only one of many things she did to ensure that her students were engaged in her lessons. Although I did not teach for decades, I was lucky enough to see wonderful techniques by many amazing educators that taught me that an excellent teacher plants the seed in students to become readers for life.
November is National Children’s Book Month. Since 1919, it has been celebrated nationally in libraries, bookstores, and schools. This month gives educators, librarians, and families the opportunity to celebrate children's books--and the love of reading. Light the fire and encourage students to re-visit an old favorite and look at it, analyze it, and enjoy it once again!
This month, I don’t have a question for you but a task. Find your favorite children’s book and incorporate it into one of your lessons, whether you are an elementary teacher or high school teacher. And, then tell us about what you did.