“You can read!?” cried one of my students, rather incredulously, today.
I’d just finished a discussion with a group in guided reading which had come to a natural conclusion so I decided to join in with the independent reading myself for fifteen minutes until lunchtime. I grabbed my book from my bag, popped on my sunglasses and sat down on the steps just outside the classroom to enjoy the sunshine with the majority of my class. I swear as soon as my bottom made contact with the wonderfully warm (what great alliteration) concrete, these three words came out of the mouth of one of my pupils.
I quickly replied, “Of course I can read!” in a jokey tone. “I’ve been teaching you reading this whole year. I hope I can read.” I knew he wasn’t actually shocked by my ability to read; I just loved the way he expressed his shock as to the fact I was reading during school-time.
“Yes, but, you can read now?” He replied. I looked around at the other children reading independently or in groups around the courtyard.
“Well, you’re all reading now,” I stated.
Once the surprise of the situation had died down, I had an absolutely wonderful time watching and listening to the children read and discussing the books we were all reading. One child ran up to me to share some funny jokes in the script they would be performing for their end-of-Year-6 production. Another three pupils shared some fascinating facts with in me regards to how much of your hair falls out each day. Some also asked me to share a summary of what my book was about and they learned the word ‘quirky’ thanks to this interaction.
I was enjoying the atmosphere so much I hadn’t realised that it was lunchtime. All too quickly, the morning was over and it was time for the class to leave. What was lovely to see was how they all slowly excited in dribs and drabs, as if they were quite content to stay put.
The three words “You can read!?” have really struck a chord with me for the rest of the day. It really goes to show the importance that teachers are visibly seen as readers – it can fuel really enjoyable and engaging conversations and can also motivate the children to read. I certainly tell my children about what I’m reading, and some even came to see me perform in The Railway Children after discussing the fact I’d been reading the script at home, but this is probably the first time they’d properly seen me indulge in reading.
I will definitely be looking for more opportunities like this in the future.