This afternoon I took advantage of taking Mr. Jones’ fourth grade class to the library. We were on the search for biographies and of course perhaps to pick up some new other reads. I enjoyed talking books with different students and helping them find new stories to read. When we returned to the classroom, I felt the eagerness to crack open their new finds. I encouraged them to take a few minutes to dig in. How wonderful a sound it was for so many little minds to shift into reading at the end of the day!

The last couple of months I have found myself reading several middle grade novels. I am so impressed with the depth that writers create in the material they are handing over to our children to read. The content has held my attention and encouraged me to book talk with my colleagues. There are tough issues that authors are willing to bring forward in simple ways for our middle readers to follow or identify with.

I am surrounded at home with readers. With two children, books are everywhere in my house. With a husband who is a middle school teacher and runs several books clubs at his school, book talks are often a part of our every day conversation. I am usually the one who isn’t walking around with some kid literature in my hand. But having been shared several of these recent novels, I am on board.

It makes me wonder how many of us as parents are reading what our children are reading. Are we able to engage in conversation about the characters that our children are connecting to? Do we understand the story lines that they are following? I encourage parents to take opportunities to pick up a book your child has read and take a look. Find a moment to sit and understand what they are selecting to read. A new picture book might be just the conversation starter with your new reader. Talking about books allows you a chance to see how they are growing as a reader. It also allows our children to see us as readers, honoring what they read.