Saturday, August 20, 2011

It's that time of year again...

My kids are getting ready to start the school year again – which means we are all about school supplies at our house. Pencils, paper, flash drives, binders, sketch books…you name it, we’ve got it stacked in the hallway or already packed neatly in new backpacks just waiting for the journey to school on the first day.

In a third grade classroom I explored this week, I found boxes and shelves and bins full of books. (Good sign!) Some titles I recognized, and others I didn’t. Some looked on the newer side, and some were dog-eared and well-loved with creases in the corners of pages and ratty edges on the paperback covers. Either way, it always makes me smile to see a well-stocked classroom library. My kids are in for a year of exploration and literary “newness” that comes from a teacher suggesting books to read instead of mom doing the suggesting.

My third grader is still in love with the How to Train Your Dragon books by Cressida Cowell. Together, we’re reading Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan. I find myself explaining some of the language and we end up having discussions about government leaders, alliances, and why countries go to war between chapters, so I’m glad we’re reading that one together. He’s a book lover (like his mom!), so I’m looking forward to seeing what choices he makes from his teacher’s stash of books.

In his soon-to-be classroom, I noticed books by Mary PopeOsborne and Beverly Cleary. I also saw books with titles and authors I didn’t recognize – which made me want to explore the bins and shelves a little longer, myself. In addition to math handouts, science experiments, social studies assignments and gym class – I hope my son comes home excited about new authors and new stories, gives new writers a try and maybe even models some of his own stories after a new author he’s read in third grade.

I’ve been trying to remember books from my third grade classroom – but they’re all a blur! I know I read a lot. I was always that kid with a book in her hand even on the playground… but specifics of titles and authors run together from my elementary school years. Certainly, I read my fair share of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Walter Farley, Marguerite Henry, and others. When I was in elementary school, I’d lose myself in novels for hours at a time only coming up for air when I got hungry or too sleepy to keep reading. Of course, I also loved shopping for new binders and pencils – couldn’t wait to get my shiny new supplies all sorted out and organized, tucked neatly into my desk, new pencil box or binder.

Ahh…the first day of school!

What books would you like to see in your child’s classroom? What books to you remember finding (Loving? Hating?) in classrooms when you were a child? What books do you hope to introduce to your kids/teachers/classmates?


  1. My daughter is starting pre-K and when we visited the school last spring before signing her up, we checked out the classrooms. My daughter went right to the bookshelves to see what they had. And she was happy to see a lot of her favorites as well as ones she wasn't yet familiar with. I took that as a good sign.

  2. My daughter's school has a book giveaway at the end of the school year. We managed to start a mini-library at home. Isn't sharing your love of literature with your children one of the greatest feelings?

  3. I just put my last child on a plane bound for her sophomore year in college. Although she left with her backpack weighting down her shoulders like years gone by, it was not the same as walking into her classroom on the first day...praying that she would come home exhilarated. Today I cleaned up her room and noticed a stack of books she has completed over the summer. Like you, I am always pleased to see a book in a child's hand. For many years I sold real estate and I cannot tell you how many homes I entered that did not house one book. You seem like a wonderful "hands on" mother who is raising an inquisitive, sensitive, beautiful son.

  4. The school year that stands out the most in my memory is second grade because it was a big book year for me. I remember the teacher reading "The Trumpet of the Swan" aloud to us in the classroom, and that was the year I discovered Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" books for the first time. I also won 2nd place in a school reading contest & my prize was a copy of "Little Town on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I also got a copy of "101 Dalmatians" from my teacher as a Christmas gift that year as well.