Box of Buttons, Room of Readers by Dana Kramaroff
Our readers come to us, like a box of buttons. I realized this while crafting with my three year old daughter. I watched her drag her fingers through, feel each one and bend her ear down low to listen to the sounds of them clinking together, ever so slightly. Through her eyes, I observed how she noticed, with wonder, all the vibrant colors, the varying shapes and sizes, some shiny and new, others worn and experienced.
In those moments, I considered how each button tells a story.
You dig in and hold one in your hand, inspecting it up close you wonder where it has been.
Like buttons, readers come to us and tell a story about their reading journey. Some readers are shiny and new, eager and ready. Some are worn and experienced. Some are even broken, their love for books, seemingly ruined forever.
The similarities between a button and the bookish or not-so-bookish student runs deep.
Within a box of buttons, some have four eyes, some two, and some none at all. Within our students we might see that their eyes for reading are not open yet to the magical feeling one finds when they experience a book and feel it to their core. Our students may read with two eyes open but may lack the know-how, that reading is more than simply decoding the words. And those readers with four eyes wide-open, are able to reach new heights in their journey for they have the power within them already, to truly attach reader to their identity.
We wish for all of our students to live like this, open to the possibilities of the page.
We might find a broken button at the bottom of the pile. We imagine what it must have taken for it to break, knowing it would require super strength and we wonder how the unthinkable could be possible. Some might consider giving up, just throwing it away, but no. We dutifully search for the other half and when we find it, we lift those pieces up and fit them back together. Two halves of a broken button seem beyond repair but super glue and the human spirit are mighty. Anything is attainable if we try.
A reader of ours might come to us, in the very same way. Broken or even hanging on by a thread. But that does not mean they are beyond repair. We would never dare to throw a reader away or give up on them.
Like the box of buttons my three year old is enamored with, we too, become enamored with our room of readers that were given to us and we hold them close. We may only have them for a short while, but for that time, they are ours as we gently push them to see their world open up with each book they complete.
LIke a needle and thread, we weave our own love for books throughout the school day in crafty ways, in hopes we may connect child to book, reader to the courageous act of reading. We show them the way, sharing aloud the most stick-to-our-gut stories. We model our own reading lives. We inspire, so that by year’s end we can hold each in our hands and know that we have impacted their journey.
Dana Kramaroff is a K-5 Instructional Coach. She is a proud fellow of the National Writing Project and is a co-director of her local site: the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project. In addition to being enamored by her work with teachers and students, she is a mom of three, a wife, a reader and writer, and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Dana would be very happy to connect with you! Follow her @litdanak.