Leaders Are Readers!

As an assistant principal, I have found that it can be easy to get caught up at the desk.  You’ve heard about it, you’ve seen it, and you’ve experienced it.  It’s true, you can sit down for 5 minutes and next thing you know, someone gets sent to the office and you have to deal with it.  Before you know it you are in a conversation with parents and discussing an issue the student is having on the bus.

I read various articles, blogs, and follow people on Twitter that I hope to get ideas from.  One idea I came across was by a principal who had a goal to read more children’s book.  As you’re reading this you are probably thinking about the last children’s book that you read outside of one you may read to your child.  I know I did and I was stumped.  So I put that down on a word document and put it in a Dropbox folder that my principal and I share.  He read it that night and said it was a good idea.

As I lay in bed thinking about this and that, I came back to the reading and wanted to create a way that would engage students and teachers more into what book we are reading.  I then came up with a plan where:

  • Every teacher would have their students recommend a book for me and my principal to read.  They would have to come to a consensus, somehow, as a class and write down the name of the book, author, and a brief description why me or Mr. F should read the book.  It could be on their grade level, one they love, or one they had never read.  Doesn’t matter.  (300 pages is the limit at the moment haha).
  • We would draw a name  from all the turned in books and that would be the book that we would read.
  • We would go to that classroom and do a booktalk with the students.  It would be coordinated with the teacher and could be done within roughly 20-30 minutes.  We could some, or all, to students, do a powerpoint or Prezi, anything to engage the students.
  • Our main focus would be discussing how we read the book, what were some things we learned from the book, and other aspects associated with the book’s topic.
  • We would then draw another name, announce it, and do it again and again.
  • We would post it on the school website, sharing what book we are reading and then possibly share pictures.

I also wanted to come up with a name of it, for the sake of having a name.  I wanted to make it catchy or even funny.  I stumbled across a quote however that nailed it on the head:

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman

So I decided that “Leaders are Readers” would be the title of our reading activity.  At a staff meeting I shared the idea and said that Mr. F and I were really looking forward to coming into the classrooms and talking with students.  Teachers liked the idea and nearly every teacher had a slip in the very next morning.  We drew a slip and read the books.  My first book was The World According to Humphrey.  I went and shared it with a 5th grade class and the teacher told me that the kids were so excited to have me coming in and talking with them.  It also felt good to get in front of a classroom again.

We want our students to be leaders as well as readers.  I would like to eventually expand this out to other leaders within our district and community.  I think it would be really cool to have someone from let’s say…Lowe’s Corporate to come over and read/discuss a book with students.

I’ve gone into 5 classrooms already, discussing books from “Underwear” – hilarious! to a serious discussion on 9/11.

I love this job.