I really loved Donalyn Miller’s book The Book Whisperer when it came out a while back, so you can imagine my excitement when she recently released a new book titled Reading in the Wild.
Something she mentioned, which I imagine we can all agree with, is that kids today are just too plugged in. Internet, video games, iPod and iPad, apps; you name it! This leaves too little for the imagination and only makes our jobs more challenging. In her book, she asks her students if they were prepared for a book emergency. I thought how creative could we be by acting all dramatic, having sirens going off, and at a low hum asking the kids, “are YOU prepared?”
What is a Book Emergency?
I could see the kids asking, “What is a book emergency?” If you have a medical emergency, you are in need of medical care. If you have a food emergency (as my children seem to always think they do), then you are in need of food. If you have a book emergency — yes, you guessed it! You NEED books — pronto! STAT!
I purposely buy large, over-sized purses. No, not so my husband and kids can continuously ask me to carry their stuff in it (though that happens more times than I can count). Instead, it’s because I am always carrying around a book in my purse! In fact, sometimes, it’s more than one! I have these ambitions that I will get way beyond the actual amount of reading a person can consume in a day. If only there were a few more hours in the day…
Haven’t you ever been somewhere longer than you anticipated? How do you spend that time? Do you just stare off into space, counting the minutes you are waiting, waiting, and still waiting? Perhaps you pull out your phone and play a good ol’ game of Candy Crush — and who doesn’t? It’s highly addicting!
But, even more addicting and important is getting those kids to see that this spare time can be used better. This is an opportunity to get lost in a book — to become the character, to live another life, to attend to another world beyond our imaginations.
Have students list places or moments when they were stuck waiting, such as over the weekend when they had to watch their little sister’s dance recital, when the car broke down, when Dad was pumping gas, or even while waiting for their game system to do its monthly update! Discuss the opportunities to read during these times. After all, it’s a book emergency!
The Nitty Gritty:
- Kids are too plugged in to technology leaving little to the imagination.
- A book emergency is the NEED for books right away.
- We need to get students to see that books are important and can be more addicting than their devices.
- Have students list times and places when they have been stuck waiting. Discuss with them that this spare time is a great opportunity to read.
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