Today, a student commented that, after reading the textbook (Making the Match), she wished we had the chance to meet FTF. Apparently the book makes me sound like a good teacher.
Last week, at the conferences I attended, I met a handful of my online students. At another conference, some students at a different university stopped to tell me that they wished they could take a course from me.
What do these things have to do with books and reading? It is about the connection between reader and text, I think. There is something about that very personal response that we experience with books that makes what we read more than scribbles on a page. Our experiences and our emotions connect to the words on the flat page and take us beyond the four corners of the text. It allows us to react on a personal and emotional level to the story.
And perhaps this might be one of the most basic reasons why we need to share stories with kids that DO connect to their lives, their lives on the HERE and NOW. That does not mean we abandon classic texts. This week the students in my History of Literature for Children class built reading ladders from one of the classics they read for the course to contemporary books. I spent yesterday and today reading these ladders, and I have to say they GET IT. They know how to connect book to book to book. How to give kids some range of choices that connect books. How to build that ladder by theme or form or format to some other salient characteristic.
I celebrate all of this. I celebrate the birthday and having the chance to share it in person with baby sister. I celebrate putting names and faces together. I celebrate seeing my students apply their learning. I celebrate being a teacher even in an online environment. Celebrate good times. Cone On!