After school is one of my favorite times of the day. I reflect on the happenings of the day and prepare for tomorrow. At the end of the day I’m usually accompanied by a handful of my students from after school care. They help sharpen pencils, organize books, clean the boards, and do any other job that garners special teacher time.
As my mom prepares to retire this year, she is passing on many of her materials to me. This past week, I carted an overflowing box of her old books to my room and called on my little after school helpers to put them in the correct book tubs.
One of my little boys stood next to a tower of books. He fingered each one with care and would often exclaim “Oh, Mrs. McCauley, I remember when you read us this one. I love this book!” As beloved stories passed through his hands, he recounted the precise time of year I’d read it to the class and something he remembered from the story. If a book was new to him, he would stop what he was doing, plop down on the carpet, and a read a few pages. About half an hour into this process, he asked “Mrs. McCauley, have you read all of the books in our class library?” I smiled. “No, not all, but I’ve read most of them. I read many of them when I was little like you.” He sighed “I love reading.” I smiled “I know you do. I do, too.”
Part of creating closure to the year is helping my students understand that when they move to second grade the current kindergarteners will be first graders. So during the last week of school we write letters to the new first graders and prepare the classroom for them. Today each student cleaned out their book box and placed easy readers in the boxes for next year. As they put the books in their boxes, I heard things like “Oh, I loved this book!” and “Mrs. McCauley, I remember when this book seemed really big and hard, but it’s so easy now!” I smiled pleased that we had a moment together to reflect on how they’d grown as learners.
I’ve got a stack of books waiting for me this summer. I can’t wait to sit back and dive in. And as I do, I will smile knowing that my little book lovers are probably doing the same.