“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
As George R.R. Martin so beautifully illustrates, reading grants opportunity for a person. Kids and adults alike benefit greatly from reading.
Part of writing well stems from reading regularly. I truly believe that the best writers are those that see themselves as life-long readers. In an attempt to help my students engage with their books on a deeper level, I added Donalyn Miller’s Reading Graffiti Wall to my classroom.
If you are not familiar with Reading Graffiti, Donalyn Miller explains in her book Reading In the Wild, Provide a place for “selecting and sharing the lines and words from our books that stood out as remarkable or special to us” (Miller 114).
At the start of the school year, our wall was slow to develop. Kids were unsure about how this was supposed to be used. “Could this quote be put on the graffiti wall?” “I am not sure if this should be written on the wall.” There was definite uncertainty about the whole idea. After numerous examples and a lot of rich discussions, the kids started to understand not only what speaks to them as they read, but why it speaks to them.
By this point in the year, the kids have embraced the idea of our graffiti wall. It is not only full, but filled with endless quotes that leave the reader smiling, laughing, crying, or simply nodding in agreement.
The students have gained the ability to read through a thoughtful lens, allowing themselves to be touched by what they read. I am always curious to see what the end of the year reading survey will reveal. This year I am especially excited to read their responses.