Because I want to know.

The Fourth of July was on a Monday this year, and I was in NYC. Although I knew I had class the next day, I still managed to make it quite a magical night out in the city. Wisdom tells me that next year I should probably plan on making it to bed sooner than I did, but alas sometimes I just HAVE to be twenty-something and in New York. Can you blame me?

I guess you could when you find out that I missed the Keynote for the first day of the institute—I’m gonna blame that on the Subway.

My first day at the Reading Institute started off slowly, with a cup of coffee in hand. Traces of my week working with writing were still dancing through my head, and friends from home were texting me in full force. I wasn’t sure I would be able to focus at all.

Then I saw Brooke Geller walk into the room; and I knew I would be fine. After all, I am ahappyteacher and tired or not I could never pass up an opportunity to learn from the best.

Class started off with a question: What are three books that you remember reading?

My answer: Hidden Gems, The Hunger Games, & Nickle and Dimed

Then we were instructed to fill in the blank. I’m the kind of person who likes to read books about _____________________________.

My answer: justice and compassion and their struggle to work together.

The tone was set. We needed to care about reading as teachers of reading. Right off the bat, they wanted to know who I was as a reader.

Immediately I found myself thinking of the first days of school this year, of all the work that would need to be done, and the importance of giving my students these kinds of reflective questions. The importance of saying, right off the bat, who are you as a reader? Because I want to know.