When I left school in June, headed into the reflection of long summer days, I was feeling pretty battered by my school's low scores on our state reading assessments. The teachers and students and administration had worked so hard to prepare for these tests...and yet the results were low. Even lower than the year before. How could this be? What were we doing wrong? What. Were. We. Doing???
I had been reading Donalyn Miller @donalynbooks , had even met and chatted with her on a visit she made to my hometown. I am a former teacher of gifted students...most of whom enjoy reading and, so, do it frequently. I was factoring that information into my reflections. I was listening to the voices of Richard Allington and all of the other researchers who are reminding us that students who read independently are more successful - as students, as test-takers, as people in the world.
And I was inspired to express my feelings about what our reading rooms, our classrooms, should look like using Goodnight Moon as a mentor text. Here is the result. (*Of course, as educators, we are still charged to prepare our students for state assessments. But perhaps we can "dim the lights" occasionally on testing and encourage our students to foster an authentic love of reading)
In the great Greenfield classroom
There was a library
And a reading place
And dedicated time for -
Students and books to embrace.
And there were texts of all kinds for readers to find
Like two tubs of mysteries
And several with histories.
Like a mythology pack
And a fantasy stack
And the time and the space for ideas to grow
And a teacher who cares who was whispering “Go!”
Goodbye everyone jumping through hoops.
And the benchmark tests
And goodbye worry
And hello Mudge
Hello Ms. Cleary
And hello Fudge
And hello Kate
Hello Wimpy Kid
Hello Big Nate
And hello to the stories that make our lives great.
Hello possibilities everywhere.