This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge hosted by the Two Writing Teachers
Our school is in the midst of our second round of parent-teacher conferences. Last Thusday day night I ripped through 13 in a row with no break. Ahhh the pleasures of having 28 students seem to show up frequently this year.
One conference was a little tough. The family is great, the child is awesome, but concepts are not "sticking" with her. And it is definitely not due to a lack of effort. These types of conferenes always get to me. It is hard when the parents know their child is struggling. I always feel a loss for words. #heartbreaking
The rest of the conferences were all pretty easy. The parents asked great questions and seemed receptive to ideas on how to help at home. Overall the 12 students represented by these parents are either in really good shape overall or have shown big growth since the beginning of the year. So I am pretty sure one of the reasons these conferences went so smoothly is that all parties involved are pretty happy about how the school year is progressing.
The interseting feedback I recieved revolves around reading. Out of the 13 conferences, 10 parents mentioned the idea that their child is reading like they have never read before. As these comments came rolling in I began to wonder why this year?
I think the teachers in my school are pretty awesome and they work hard. Our libary is ridiculously loaded with books, our principal "gets it" and overall the kids are great. Like most places, things are not perfect, but I really love where I work. So when parent 7 or 8 said something like "Thanks for lightning a reading fire in our daughter. She always has been a good reader, but this year she absolutey loves reading." I got the nerve to ask. "Why do you think that is?"
After a short pause, the parent replied, "She is always talking about all the great books you share and how much you read. You are having a huge influence on her."
My response was, "Cool, I am glad she is excited about reading. We all seem to be in this room." Then we moved onto to another topic.
This pattern repeated a few more times then I packed up for the night and headed home feeling tired, but pleased. I have been thinking about this interesting feedback for a few days now. In my heart I have known for a long time that if a teacher of readers is passionate about books, some of this enthusiasm will spill over into the room. In the past few years, I have been excited to discover that there is a actual research that supports this idea as well. But to hear it from parents was a big deal to me.
If a child's parent is noticing a shift in the love of reading, that is huge. With all the distractions we have, to notice a monumental change in how a child reads for pleasure is a big deal. I know this. I went through it with both my children. It was fantastically awesome to see.
As I am finishing this post I am thinking about the two new titles that will be shared tomorrow and placed into our classroom library, the mini-lesson on starting a list of books to read over spring break next week, and sharing the twitter exchange that Dan Santat and I had today about his book Sidekicks. I know all of this is just another example of how nerdy I am about reading and books. But apparently all this nerdiness is helping to make some future book nerds as well.
I am certain that is a good thing.