Once a week I volunteer at the elementary school where I spent twenty years as a reading specialist. Usually I help out during writing workshop in a first grade and a second grade classroom, but on one of my recent visits I had the opportunity to do some reading and writing with the first graders. Connie, the teacher, asked if I would read with Michael, one of her more reluctant readers. I could tell right away that Michael was active, and maybe a little fidgety, but he willingly brought his book box over to the table and read the book he had just worked on in his small group. After he was finished and we had talked a little about his success as a reader I asked, “What else have you got in there that you could share with me?” The conversation went something like this:
Michael (digging through the box): Well, my favorite books are the Danny books.
Me: I love Danny! Those books were the most popular books in my room when I worked here.
Michael (proudly pulling out all the Danny books and sorting them into two piles): I can read these, but I can’t read those other ones yet.
Me: Why don’t you pick one of those other ones and we’ll try it together.
Michael and I spent the rest of our time together reading through several titles and laughing together as Danny plays with Bee, goes for a walk, visits a car wash, and learns what objects sink or float. As I helped Michael put the books away, I noticed my name written inside the front cover of one. I remembered that I had given the books to Connie for her classroom just before I retired. I explained this to Michael who replied, “I’m so glad you gave them to her. They are the best books to read! Thank you.”
I’m not sure who received the bigger gift that day, me or Michael.
(Check out www.maryruthbooks.com for more info about Danny)