The Book Fair is at Joyner this week. I am overwhelmed by the response of our families. So many of our community are coming in to visit the books with their children. It is magic to this book lover to see parents and children delighting together over books.

Last December our staff received the gift of books and reading. We challenged each other to consider participating in the 40 Book Challenge. While I am unsure how everyone has done, I know that I have kept diligent track this year on the Good Reads account my husband set up for me. As the year has progressed, I began to be amazed at the amount of books I have completed. I have pushed myself into a variety of genres as well. A month ago I celebrated my completion of the 40 books this year and have dug into perhaps making it to 50 like I recently read Bill Gates does.

I reflect on myself as a reader and believe that I have grown. This proves that reading is something that helps us grow no matter the age. Our children also grow when they read. I enjoy talking story with our students. Most students have figured out that I LOVE books and talking about them. Watching children grow in their ability to grab text and make it turn into story and interesting information is the joy of working in an elementary school.

This school year I began introducing new children’s stories at our staff meetings. I begin each meeting with book talk. I talk about the story and the viewpoints that could be brought into the classroom. Often there are other readers of the book and they immediately offer their ideas of how they read these children’s stories. After we book talk, I draw a name and the book is given to that member of our staff. Other teachers quickly sign up to borrow it.

I always enjoy seeing how our teachers use books to introduce ideas, talk about content, or connect emotions. Children’s books really can ignite learning and questions.

I encourage our families to continue to nurture and give that gift of story. Share and read together. Find new adventures with favorite characters. Talk about why we love books with our children. This is one of those gifts that measures beyond grades and into life.