What a Teacher Wants: Reading Recommendations from a 2nd Grade Teacher
Teachers make fabulous friends, especially for a reader.
A friend of mine teaches 2nd grade at a public school, though she started with 4th, then moved to 3rd, and has come to rest in 2nd grade. There she has all the enthusiasm, glitter, and spontaneous dance parties she wants. As she says, “They are little, but they are my people.”
While she adores her position, I’ve noticed she misses the literacy work she did with the 4th and 3rd graders. Class sets, purchased out of pocket, pile up in bins in her storage closet at home. She regularly raids the Scholastic Book Fair catalogs with the enthusiasm and calculating thriftiness of extreme couponers.
Her 2nd graders read a bit, but most of what she buys are books “for the kids”. Not her students. Not her own children. They’re for her, and then to share with whatever kids there are and their parents.
I shared a bit of my experience in an earlier post, after helping her shelve this collection. Rescuing books from the bins, and I got a better idea of how she felt about this private library.
She began setting aside a stack for me.
These were books she read. She felt strongly about them, and was quick to defend them from assumptions. “It’s short but it’s wonderful!” “I know we read it for the school-wide book, but I really think this is your kind of story.” “Can you just read this one? No one I know has read it and they’re missing out and when you do we can talk about it!”
One year, for her birthday, since we were both short of funds I offered the best gift I had – that she pick everything I read for the month. It was all she could talk about for weeks beforehand, sorting out her list, her recommended reading order, and what she hoped I would appreciate about them all.
This year, her list was more eclectic, but I’m grateful for each one.
She had a point. Despite the young target audience and the short length, they are quality material. I’d have passed many of them up without a thought, but she shared what she’d found and we both got what we wanted. I got great reads and wonderful, original stories. She got someone who would understand the stories at an adult level and appreciate the art in them.
Her second graders may like the story, but it’s nice to talk to a grownup about the quality work behind it.