There are several “hot reads” in my classroom right now. Each new class of students take me by surprise- their interests and reading lives are so different from one another. Last year I couldn’t keep enough Fly Guy books on my shelves. While Fly Guy remains to be a popular series in my room, nothing comes close to a different series this year.
This year, the most popular books are Jerry Pallotta’s Who Would Win? series. If a student is the first one in the door in the morning, you can guarantee that there will be a beeline to the Who Would Win? stack of books. Forget about making a lunch choice. Forget about taking down the chairs off the desk. Forget about turning in last night’s homework. I want to be the first one to get these books.
I loved it. What reading teacher’s heart doesn’t get all warm and fuzzy when the first thing students do is run to the classroom library to get books?
And then something very interesting happened. It was time to settle in to independent reading time, and I called the first few students to go get their books. (You know where they headed straight toward). But they were surprised. “Mr. Teut…. the Who Would WIn books aren’t here!” “They should be…” I said. We searched the classroom library and they were nowhere to be found.
“Is someone stashing them in their desk?” I asked. Everyone shook their heads, no.
Then a voice said “I think I might know where some are.” And this classmate crawled in a little space behind one of our display shelves and pulled them out.
“And I think I know where the rest are,” said another voice. And this classmate lifted up a basket and revealed the rest of the series under the basket.
They were hiding them! Hiding them so that no one else would get their hands on these titles.
I thought about it for a minute. What should I do?? I was amused. That, folks, is major book love. Is that something I should discipline? This is something I’m trying to build up, and encourage. So I thought about it for a moment and we went into an “emergency” classroom meeting.
We had a great discussion about sharing books, fairness, book love. We made a plan. We agreed that we shouldn’t hide books, and we should be happy when other students get to read them, and our turn will be coming.
In instances like these, you can either get upset, or you can celebrate book love and teach a life lesson about it.
As great of a series as the Who Would Win? books are, I am sure that they won’t remain this sought-after all year long. The next highly anticipated book is the upcoming Elephant and Piggie title. We will of course share the book together as a class, but I know it will be a hot title after that. I like Donalyn Miller’s idea of having a waiting list.
That just might be what we need to do, so the book won’t end up tucked away hidden from sight.
Celebrate moments like these, even when students are hiding books. Build upon that love and make it last.