For me, teaching 6th graders has been an epiphany in so many ways. As much as I hope that my students are learning their way around new ideas, I am convinced that being with them each day is teaching me even more. On a daily basis, they remind me that school and learning is more successful when it’s fun. Their enthusiasm spills over into virtually every element of their day and I admire that a great deal.
Case in point is their excitement about reading books. They read their schoolbooks, of course, but many of them also come to class with a pleasure book in hand. They crack it open when they finish a quiz early; they sneak a peak at a few lines when assignments are collected. When asked about the stories they are reading, they bubble over with details about the tales. They swap tips with one another, recommending books that have brought them pleasure. I am reminded of my own book obsession at the age of 11 (to speak nothing of my continued joy in books at the age of 46). I love the way that the 6th graders hope for quiet moments in which they can immerse themselves in a good book.
In every way, these readers offer evidence that the good old-fashioned pleasure of reading thrives as much as ever. That’s a very happy thing.