Four Hours of Reading? No Problem!

As I considered how four hours of reading would fit into my week, I had to consider how difficult it would be to cut it back to just four hours.

One of the biggest joys for me at this time is being a new elementary teacher in my own former elementary school. I am teaching fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh grades in the room where I was a sixth grade student. Every day is magic.

I was glad to learn that my students in general really enjoy reading. Another treat is that they still enjoy listening to a story being read to them. We have a comfy rocking chair in our “Fine Arts Department.” Our Fine Arts Department is one room dedicated to Language Arts, Visual Arts, and Music. I guess that makes me the Chairman of the Department!

That comfy chair is where I begin each of our Reading Class segments. We are reading Horses of the Dawn, The Escape, by Kathryn Lasky. This was one of the new books which was delivered to the school during the summer. It was fun to see how excited the kids were to see the boxes of new books!


I snagged this selection simply because of its cover and its title. I knew a book about a horse would be a favorite of all my students. I was right. Our reading time is one of the few quiet times during the day.

As I read aloud, you can hear a pin drop in our room. The kids are curled up in bean bag chairs, lying on the floor, or on the tables. Few rules, other than being quiet.

I never end our reading time without a request to “Read more!” I always answer…. “Tomorrow.”

The book takes us on a journey in an old ship which was carrying horses to a “New World.” We have hit some sad parts, and I’ve had to continue reading even though I was on the verge of tears. I’ve explained to my kids that is the reason I read in the dark. I almost always cry. (Just ask my own sons.)

Their reactions were interesting. “It’s a good thing you didn’t cry, or I would have cried, too.” “Did you cry on your way home?” “How did you not cry when you wanted to?”

Also, since I am back at my familiar school, the titles of favorite books have been sweeping over me. On Thursday of this week, I remembered the title of a book that I remember from my “Bookmobile Days.” The title is Nora’s Ark. I had found copies online, but the copyright date didn’t seem to match. Lo and behold, it is in the card file in our little library, which is a special room just off of our main classroom. I searched and searched, and had kids join me, but we didn’t find it where it was supposed to be. I was able to tell the the story from memory, and how scary it was at the time.

Later, when I had a chance to visit with our lower elementary teacher, she handed the book to me. Oh, yes! It is the same story. It is updated, but the illustrations still look old. It tells the story of a young girl who helps save her grandparents’ farm animals during a flood in Vermont.


My goal is to contact the author to find out details of the original book. With the internet, this should be possible. (As a side note, I just found the author’s email address and sent her a message. We’ll see what happens!)

Along with other classroom reading, I’m pulling books off the shelves which I think might be interesting for my kids to read. We have a very nice variety for how small our school is. Someone has taken very good care of things!

And before I call it a day, I always grab my short reading materials, such as Reader’s Digest, or Family Handiman. I came to the conclusion not long ago, that in order to fall asleep, I apparently have a minimum quota of words which my brain must process. If I don’t reach that number, I simply cannot fall asleep.



3 thoughts on “Four Hours of Reading? No Problem!

  1. Using the Internet to connect with authors! I love it! Many teachers use Twitter for this purpose. Several great elementary teachers I know have Twitter accounts for their classrooms, and they will tweet with authors or illustrators whose books they’re sharing. It’s very exciting for kids when the author responds and answers questions! Heck, it’s exciting for ME when an author responds to my tweets! I also have to read for a few minutes before bed. I have to be careful what I’m reading, though, as anything about teaching gets my brain moving too much. I generally like a nice quiet, slow-moving novel for bedtime!


  2. I am glad you are adding the reading time that you use in the class room. I figured the time I spent reading to kids would count as well. I loved Nora’s Ark and it is one i my collection and the kids all love it. I have never heard of your other choice Horses of the Dawn, The Escape, by Kathryn Lasky I will have to find a copy of it. How neat to be able to teach in a class room you attended as a child, good luck this year. I love your chair it looks comfy.


  3. I really like that you used the internet to connect with authors! I have a problem of reading too good of a book before going to bed and then I never fall asleep!! I have to make sure I set a limit for myself and stick to it! Otherwise, I would get no sleep at all!!


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