Tuesday, 30 July 2019

A letter to my class about reading

Dear Deer Class,

Well done for getting through Year Six. You've been an absolute joy to teach this year and I hope you've had as much fun as I have along the way. Just before you all head off to your different secondary schools, I wanted to take some time to thank you for being such a passionate and enthusiastic class of readers.

How do I know? Because the evidence is everywhere. Because you start getting ready for story time and moving the cushions to the floor before I've even noticed. Because you make wonderful recommendations to each other and talk about books all the time. Because you remind me about Poem of the Day whenever I forget it and keep it going when I'm not there. Because you give up your time to read with children further down the school. Because you work through lunchtimes to help keep the school library running. Because you loiter around the desk whenever you see a new brown parcel there, just in case it's a new book (and, let's be honest, it usually is). Because your parents post photos on Twitter of you visiting the library and reading at home. Because you sneak into class early to tell me about the books you've read over the weekend or during the holidays.

If you've got a couple of minutes, let me break it down even further...

Winter, I know you're a reader because you have an opinion on virtually every book that's in the classroom and you make me work really hard when you want a book recommended to you that you haven't already read. You've also pointed me in the direction of some fantastic books over the year, so thank you (and yes, I loved Can You See Me?).

Jack C, I know you're a reader because of the way you always listen so carefully to our class book. I absolutely loved watching your reaction as a certain dog saved the day in The Outlaw Varjak Paw.

Cayla, I know you're a reader because you grabbed the opportunity to perform one of your favourite poems at the National Theatre and then delivered something that will genuinely stay with me forever.

Daniel, I know you're a reader because you've read such a wonderful variety of graphic novels across the year. I understand why you love New Kid so much.

Freddie, I know you're a reader because you devoured the Maze Runner series in a few weeks and then wanted more. Enjoy the Hunger Games books next year.

Lois, I know you're a reader because you put such thought and care into selecting the books you read to the group of Year Two girls who seem to turn up in our classroom most lunchtimes.

Lillie, I know you're a reader because you have such an individual reading identity, which always comes through in the choices you make. I'm glad you enjoyed Swimming Against The Storm by Jess Butterworth as much as I did.

Toby, I know you're a reader because you powered through the first couple of books in the Skulduggery Pleasant series and literally nothing could distract you. They're one of my favourite series too, and I'm thrilled you enjoyed them.

Morgan, I know you're a reader because you'd read the Poem of the Day every day if you could. I think you've read more poetry than anyone this year.

Jack B, I know you're a reader because you love non-fiction books about different types of transport. I now know more about the various trains of the world than I ever did before.

Alfie M, I know you're a reader because you just didn't give up. It took a while, but you found the type of books you love in the end. Keep with it!

Emily, I know you're a reader because you're quite happy to abandon a book you're not enjoying. You don't waste time on the boring books because you know there's so much great stuff out there.

Alfie R, I know you're a reader because you invariably seem to know who's got the missing Amulet and Bone books. Thank you for keeping my books bill down!

Demi, I know you're a reader because you could always provide such an accurate summary of whatever happened in Boy In The Tower to anyone who missed a few chapters when we were reading it together.

Danny, I know you're a reader as you find the time. Life is busy, but you manage to find the time because you know it matters.

Honey, I know you're a reader because you loved reading, discussing and then reading again all the Raina Telgemeier graphic novels. Don't forget, her new one is out in September.

Jazmine, I know you're a reader because you came in every day for about a week insisting that the Narwhal and Jelly series are the funniest books ever and that I just had to read them. I did in the end and you're not far wrong.

Ruby, I know you're a reader because virtually every conversation we have is about books and reading. And sometimes different types of chocolate bar. You've read books by so many different authors this year, including Francesca Armour-Chelu, Tom Palmer, Cath Howe and Nadine Wild-Palmer, and you should be proud.

I could go on for a lot longer Deer Class, but won't as I think I've made my point pretty comprehensively. Also, the summer holidays are upon us and we've all got a lot of reading to be getting on with. Have a wonderful break and enjoy your time at secondary school. Find the library, make friends with the librarian, keep reading books and make the most of every single minute.

Mr Biddle

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