Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
I opened the large white envelope from Boyds Mills Press uncertain of what I’d find, and out tumbled an advance copy of Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s joyous new book, a collection of poems about a reading life, gloriously illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke:
So, of course, I HAD to put down the mundane task I was in the midst of to lose myself in poem after poem about what it means to be a reader. Each poem captured a slice of reading magic – the worlds books allow you into, the comfort they provide, the experience of being in a room full of other readers who are all lost in the books they are reading.
Here’s one that spoke to the long ago me who had just cracked the reading code:
It reminded me of all those hours I’d spent with piles “rainbows of rectangles”, pretending to read the stories I had memorized, and yearning for that day when I would not need to pretend anymore take off, all on my own, the magic code of reading cracked at last. All these many decades later, I can’t really remember that specific moment of reading independence, but I do remember that that sense of being able at last to be “…swooping/alone/over words confusing/but now/all my own'”.
And here’s another that is part of my reading life even today:
Reading has taught me so much about how to live, to grieve, to offer guidance, to give solace, to imagine, and to wonder. I think this is at the center of all I hope for my sixth graders to take from our year of reading workshop: that we read to know how to live, it’s that important.
I’m putting Read! Read! Read! carefully back in its envelope, so that it will be ready for the first day of reading workshop in September, when I share my reading life with my kiddos and the message that “Every single thing you read/becomes a part of you.(from the poem Forever).”