I still can see the faces of so many of my former middle school students. I can see them absorbed in books during silent reading time. I can see them grabbing up books Rosemary Smith and I booktalked during library visits. I can see them withdraw from Book Pass when they found a book they liked and refused to pass it along to someone else. I can see the passion in their eyes as they talked to me or their peers about the books they were reading. I have been removed from the middle school classroom for 25 years (I get my 25 year award from SHSU today), and yet I can still see that all clearly. I'd like to think it was because books and reading were a priority for me. The memories I have are the prizes. Prior-prize, got it?
So, if we set priorities like creating lifelong readers, wild readers, passionate readers, non-stop readers: what will the reward be? Those indelible memories.