March SOL Challenge–Day 3
Books have nurtured me throughout my life. Within their pages I’ve found so many things: Companionship, wisdom, adventure, knowledge, understanding, wonder, refuge, and respite. I truly believe there have been times in my life when books saved me–offering me escape from painful reality, a new perspective or a way to move forward.
I pick up books at book stores, library sales, yard sales, my local recycling barn, and anywhere else I can lay my hands on them. At my home, books tumble in piles near my bed, fill cardboard boxes, gather on table tops, crowd multiple bookcases, and even spill over into my car. These accumulated books often carry tangible talismans from their past: a comment scribbled in the margin, dog-eared pages, a torn corner, a coffee cup stain, photographs, a note, a letter, a receipt, an inscription. Each mark or item tells a story that adds to the book. I can only imagine the details, but feel richer for having touched or held these items. They add another layer to the story of that book. Perhaps the life of a book doesn’t only exist within its pages but encompasses its life as a physical object, accumulating over time.
Not surprisingly my classroom is also filled with books. The other day I was tidying up, tucking books away in the classroom library, and I found this anonymous sticky note waving from the pages of a book.
Translation (for those who are not fluent in First Grade):
note to me
T.rex has a period
but the R
is still lowercase
This note delighted me on so many levels, though I struggle to explain exactly why. I can imagine a student actively reading this book, thoroughly engaged and aware, noticing that lower case r after T. in T.rex and then puzzling about it. I love the evidence that this student stopped and wondered about something new or different. This time it was punctuation, perhaps next time it will be an idea or an unknown word. There is an earnest learner here, taking the time to write a memo “note to me”, and clearly writing down each sound (and a few extras) to spell that challenging word “period”. “Pearyied.” And I guess at the bottom of it all, I’m entranced by that earnestness, that investment in learning, and by the evidence left of a reading life.
After I read the sticky note and shared it with a few colleagues, I tucked it back into the pages of that book. There it rests, another layer in this book’s life, a talisman, waiting for discovery by another reader at another time.