Little things and big things happen every day in our classrooms. The huge things, of course, we can’t help but notice. An amazing interactive lesson where everyone was engaged. A performance where we showcase the songs we have been singing. An incredible art project hung up and celebrated. The little things are just sized down huge. They don’t shout and march about to gather attention. They just quietly happen. Finding them in the every day busy is like finding the first leaves unfurl on a favourite tree. Not there one day and beautifully present the next.
I love finding the little things. The little things with big meaning. Big meaning and big potential.
Little moments like listening to a child read and realizing that she is suddenly fully a reader. It didn’t happen suddenly of course. Little things happen everyday and seemingly out of nowhere, you are at a place you weren’t sure you would land. Like a dripping faucet fills up a bowl when an hour ago it was empty. Steady drops over time. Repeated actions + space + time = definitely something. Daily reading practice in a classroom community over months and months and yes, definitely something. A reader gets made. A reader happens. A reader arrives.
Slowly, certainly, with determination a little one who told me in September, “I can’t really read any of these books.” sits at a table reading in May. When I ask her this question, “Do you know how far you have come?” she answers with conviction, “I wasn’t really reading much and now I am reading so much. I am a rockstar!”
I watch her over our Reading Workshop session. After reading aloud to me, she sits and continues with her book bag, practicing the stories we selected for her to read at the beginning of the week. Occasionally, she gets to the end of the page and looks around for a minute. I imagine she is thinking, “Whoa, I just read that whole page.” When students have “free choice” reading time after independent practice, they can continue reading on their own, read with a buddy or draw and write about their stories. She leaps up when the timer goes and grabs a pile of recently read aloud picture books and lies on the carpet with a classmate and they read aloud together. When I peek at her as I sit with another child, I see her reading carefully and with animation or talking about the illustrations with her classmate. Just before recess, she bustles about replacing books where she found them on various display shelves around the room.
Repeated actions + space + time = definitely something.
I could tell you about which level she is reading at – how she went from reading ___ books and is now reading ____ books. I do have that data. But that’s not really the point here. She was not reading even close to where she should be and now she is in the realm of grade level proficiency. This matters not for those levels that I can record next to her name. This matters because she can now be in this classroom full of books that all felt out of reach for her in the fall and know that she is a reader here.
This is what I celebrate today. That readers happened here this year. I have been worried. So very worried. A few months ago, I celebrated growth. Now I celebrate that I have been a part of making readers. I will always be part of these children – the year many of them learned to be a reader. Not just learned to read but became readers. They have skills to grow, books to read, thoughts to think about stories and the world. There is a big reading future ahead. And they are on their way. I watched this happen. One word, one page, one smile, one book at a time.
I celebrate all of it.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.