On the Thursday before vacation, the secretarial assistant in our school delivered a box of books which she had labeled and laminated the covers for me to get them ready for the classroom library. I will be honest, sometimes I am guilty of letting the books sit on the sidelines waiting for when I have a moment to move them into the library or do a book buzz for my class. But, as I looked at that box of books I thought I REALLY need to get these into the kids’ hands before vacation.
In my class we typically buzz a book a day which is followed by the negotiations or drawings to determine the next reader and develop a waiting list. This often leaves readers disappointed but we do our best to make sure books are traveling around the room and not living in book bins. I decided that this day would be different. I covered the box in purple cloth and left it in the meeting area with a note that said: No Peeking!
As the kids came in I could see them whispering to each other and overheard them say, “It’s probably books!” I guess I am a bit predictable. During the share part of our morning meeting, I power buzzed all the books in the box and laid them out on the floor. The readerly excitement was building! But, they had to go to PE class before we could finish.
When the fifth graders returned to class, they stood around the treasures on the floor pointing at the books they wanted to have. A few desperate readers started begging me for the chance to be the first reader of the book they desired. I settled them down and explained I would draw from their name cards. As a I drew a card each student had 10 seconds to choose a book. No complaining if “their” book was taken and they could pass if they didn’t see a book that interested them.
As I randomly drew cards students swooped in and chose their books. One for the Murphy’s, Zane and the Hurricane, Snicker of Magic, The Secret of Ferrell Savage and many others each made their way into the hands of readers. The kids had huge smiles and every reader found a book they were excited to read. It was like a book launching party! Of course, they still went around negotiating, swapping and developing waiting lists for next readers of their books. I think a book launching party is the start of a new tradition in my class.
I am thinking of my readers now and hoping they are enjoying some time outside and then snuggling in with their beautiful new books!