“I got lost in the book.” I think that is one of the most beautiful sentences a teacher can hear and I heard that exact sentence this afternoon. As the words came out of a student’s mouth, I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. I really had to keep myself from jumping up and down and clapping my hands!
You see, this sentence represented a victory and requires celebration. I’ve worked with this particular student for a little more than a year and I’ve never seen her get excited about a book before. She has never willingly read outside of school, much less expressed any interest in reading. She’s polite about the books that we read, but has never been overly enthusiastic about reading.
However, when we were exploring bookopolis.com, this student noticed a picture of the cover of The One and Only Ivan on my page. She commented that the cover looked interesting and asked if I had the book so that she could borrow it. Well, what do you think wasn’t in my library on that particular day? So, I went to the library and thankfully it was available. My student eagerly put the book in her bag and I hoped that this book would connect with her. I had shared so many other books, but this student never demonstrated any real sense of engagement. I wanted her to experience the power and joy of being immersed in a great book and every time a book didn’t click with this student, I felt as though I had failed her as a teacher. Finding that one book that would make a difference for her became my mission.
So, when this student returned to my room this afternoon all excited about Ivan’s story, I couldn’t contain myself. For the first time, I realized that she had finally experienced that feeling of being swept away that so many of us “book nerds” probably take for granted. Hopefully, we can build on this positive experience. She’s already said that she wants to read more books by Katherine Applegate, so I think that’s a step in the right direction!