Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Thank You Jon Scieszka


Yesterday was our first day back to school. We spent the morning grading a district mandated writing assessment and the afternoon in our rooms. Oh, and lunch out with teachers. In my box was a Christmas card from a student that I had two years ago. Sadly, his family moved and he goes to another school. Fortunately, his mom still brings him to book club each month. In the card his mother had included a copy of a writing sample G had to do at his other school. I thought I would share a couple of sentences from the writing. They are appropriate in our days of thanking Jon Scieszka.

Here is a little background about G. He was at Montclair for just the year he spent with me. He had been at a private school and left there wounded from a bad year in second grade. He had VERY low self-esteem when he entered my class. He was reading a little below grade level and was very upset when he made mistakes. Over the year G grew more then any other student I taught. He found his voice and was willing to take risks. The writing his mom sent is about me and that year.

There is no better way to thank someone then by telling them the impact they have on your life. I met Ambassador Scieszka at the CCIRA conference a couple of years ago. It was after we had started our Guys Read Book Club at Montclair. So Ambassador here is what a fifth grader writes about the importance of book clubs:

“Mr. Kimmal announced he would start a book club for boys only….Mr. Kimmal handed out fliers to everyone. My friends and I decided to join. On the day it started, we walked up to Mr. Kimmal’s room. He explained how a book club would energize boys. Next he showed us some books that interested us, even though he knew none of us would read them, but after the second book, we got hooked. Mr. Kimmal knew how to make everyone crave reading…..Just by looking at the cover we knew our parents would hate it, and they did.”

I can’t remember the first book. I did know they would read the book. They often are true knuckleheads, but they come each month and the numbers keeping growing, so THANK YOU for inspiring me and my guys.

19 comments:

Mary Lee said...

This is an AWESOME tribute. To Jon AND to you. Go forth and make more readers today! (or next week, since it's already Friday)

Melissa said...

That writing sample cracked me up. Just so you know. :-)

Kelly said...

What a wonderful (and funny) affirmation!

Sandra Stiles said...

I am one of those people who have visited your blog but not commented. I too am a teacher. I have middle grade remedial reading students. You mentioned in one of your blogs starting the Cirque du Freak books. I don't have them on my personal shelves but our library carries them. One of my students started reading them and then recommended the book to a friend and before I new it half the boys in that class was reading them. One of them looked at a girl reading Twilight and said it was Twilight for boys. I haven't read them yet but they are on my TBR list. Especially since I have a posted sheet and my students write book on it that I need to read and I cross them off as I get to them. Thanks for all you do to interest boys in reading.

Michelle said...

It's so great that you have a book club just for boys. The library where I work has one during the summer, and a girls one too. The groups have grown each year, and the kids' excitement about it grows too.

Charlie said...

I think a bookclub just for guys is a brilliant idea. Glad to have found your blog. Keep up the good work, getting boys interested in reading is really important!

Beth said...

I just found your blog through the comment challenge, and I'm really interested in the book club (for boys). I'm thinking of starting a school book club, but hadn't thought about making it only for boys. Hmm.

Do the girls have their own club, or do they read so much they don't need it? Maybe I need to poke around in your archives...

I'm off to check out the new Rodman book on your rec.

Bill said...

Sounds like the fun opposite of our Grand Discussion, instead of reading with a parent, find a book the parents will hate based on the cover...I like it!

North CMC Blog said...

Kyle-- I happened upon your blog while doing a search for "CCIRA blog". I am the vice-pres of CCIRA and also the 2011 Conference chairperson. Would you consider presenting any sessions at the 2011 conference ( a year form now)?

I also want to share a website that is right up your alley--it's done by a friend of mine who is a teacher librarian in Jefferson County:

GettingBoysToRead.com

Are you coming to this year's conference in a few weeks? I'd love to meet you if you are going to be around. Shoot me an email if you're interested!

Cindi Bryant

millymarie said...

How awesome!!! What a great idea to have a boys only bookclub. There should be more. Great story thanks for sharing.

Margaret Ann Abrahams said...

Great idea - the book club for boys. I wish there had been one when my son was in grade school. Happy to find your blog through the comment challenge.

The Wild About Writing Trio said...

I found your blog through the comment Challenge, and I am so happy that I did. I'm adding this to the list of blogs I follow.

And it's those kinds of notes from children that make teaching and writing such an honor and a priviledge.

Robin Gaphni said...

What a wonderful story! As the mother of two boys (who are now teenagers) I wish that they had been in a book club when they were younger. Luckily both love to read.
I love your blog and will check back!

Kristen said...

Lovely!

MotherReader said...

What a great story! Keep those boys reading!

Kate T said...

I don't know when reading became an activity that mostly girls did, I grew up in a household where my dad far out read my mom. But growing up I noticed few boys carried books around with them, and so many could barely read aloud (thank you, rural PA school districts). I think it's fantastic that you are making a real difference in these kids lives. :)

Kelly said...

That's a really cute writing sample :) I wish I knew what your first book was that got them hooked!

a. fortis said...

"Just by looking at the cover we knew our parents would hate it, and they did." That's so funny and sweet at the same time. I love it. Thanks for sharing this story!

Susan Quinn said...

This is simply awesome! I've had an on-going conversation on my blog Ink Spells about Keeping Boys Reading. As a writer, and blogger trying to help parents find good books, I'm trying to keep the list growing.

I'm going to link to your blog in my post tommorrow!