There is something transcendent about playing games that lifts us up and out of the tedium and pain of everyday life. What is it about games that is transcendent? Perhaps it’s the fact that games are optional, they are obstacles that we volunteer to overcome. Games are what we choose to do. They are what we are drawn to when we have a choice about how to spend our time and energy. Games are freedom.
When I read quotes like the one above, I find I can easily substitute "reading books" for "playing games." There is something transcendent about reading books. They lift me up out of the everyday; they are freedom. Paul Hazard once wrote, "Give us books. Give us wings." Books can transport me from the comfy cushions of the office reading chair and even out of the tortuous seats of an airplane. Suddenly, I am Jerry Renault sitting in a Catholic school classroom, wondering how to react to the chaos taking place. Or I am Evie battling a serial killer risen from the dead. Or I am a bear searching for my hat. Those lost in a book times are freedom.
How do we create the environment where kids can get "lost in a book"? Serial reading is often tied to this stage in the development of a reader. Reading serially does not just mean reading books in one series, though. We could serially read by author, genre, form, format, and other qualities. Allowing kids a chance to read serially can help set up the "lost in a book" atmosphere. It means our classroom libraries have books to assist kids in reading serially. And it means we read these books, too, especially the books in the series our kids are gravitating toward.
Earlier this week, a former student (and a terrific teacher librarian) and I were chatting on Facebook about a kid who loved the Series of Unfortunate Events books and was refusing to move on. What could she suggest to him? After some back and forth to get more info about the kid, I suggested SPACEHEADZ. I am waiting to hear how the kid responded to this suggestion. While I do not favor (nor does my former student) pushing kids, I also understand that sometimes we need to be standing by with a book we can connect to their serial reading if only to show them the wider world of books.
And now down to the VATE conference. Cannot wait to see some colleagues, attend some sessions.