My third grade son was very into the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series a couple of months ago. He started the first book on a Friday night and stayed up late reading. That Saturday, we had some errands to run, one of which included the bookstore. He read in the car and was more than halfway through book one when we arrived at Barnes and Noble. As we shopped, he made a beeline for the Jeff Kinney display and came back with books two and three in hand. He insisted we buy them both because he would be done soon and what if we didn’t have them? Heaven and bliss, we had a book emergency.
Sadly, Matthew has long since finished the Wimpy Kid series. He occasionally picks up his do-it-yourself book and makes an entry, but that burning hot desire to read has cooled. I watched him staring at the pages of his book last night. He’d glance out the window then back at the page. After twenty minutes, he’d read six pages—clearly his Night at the Museum book didn’t warrant the undivided attention that Greg Heffley got. As a mom and a reading teacher, I am longing for more book emergencies.
What is it that really ignites passion in young readers? This is a question that I am asked all the time but struggle with myself. I do know that the more children know about what’s out there to read, the more inclined they are to read it. So perhaps, the secret lies in talking more about books. Is there a book or series that went “viral” in your classroom this year? Let me know because summer is right around the corner and I am hoping to refuel a reading fervor.