The Library: My Friend

I love coming to the library.  Books appeal to me like chocolate, soothing!  I am in New York at a teen nationals competition with my children and have found some quiet time to write. I directly went to the library, a quiet and welcoming place.  Sitting down here at the computer, I notice a new book next to it, a title I have not read.  Wow!  It’s awesome.  I’ll be blogging on it in the near future.  It’s called Sneezeby Alexandra Siy and Dennis Kunkel.

The library can become a good friend to you.  On my journey of “learning” books, the library is my source.  I challenge you to go to the children’s section in the library and look for some books.  Our local library has a special section for the new books.  I usually look there first.  Then, find a spot to savor the book.  Meaning, read the book to enjoy.  Then, begin to look at the text with a writerly eye.  What words do you notice?  What did you like about the text?  And then, why did you like that specific part – was it the words, craft, font, humor, emotion?  Carry sticky notes so that you can tab the pages.  I love getting small ones to note the specific writing you like.  Many times I cannot name what I like.  I just like the way the words have been used.  I usually write those in my notebook (with quotes and author’s name) to remember the sound.  After a while of savoring the words, a craft will come to me – or I’ll name it my own unique trait.  What matters is that I notice the technique.  Do the same.  You’ll begin to notice more and more craft by doing this practice.  Which by the way, this practice is “savoring a book”, just like a life savor’s flavor lingers in your mouth.

Katie Wood Ray explains more in her book, Wondrous Words.

Now, since I cannot buy all the books that I savor, I will copy the cover with a sticky note on the front, listing the craft/skills that will help my teaching.  I also note where to find the book. This step is very important! Eventually, I hope to purchase the book, but at least I have a written memory of the book.   I then place the copy in a file that has a craft that I have named so that I can find it again.

Try it and let me know how it goes.


3 Responses to The Library: My Friend

  1. Karen says:

    You just made my life easier! Entering my second year as a Literacy Coach and I am spending my summer trying to figure out how to organize all my resources. You gave me the answer for keeping track of mentor texts that I own, want to own and check out of the three public libraries I visit for teachers!! I added the RSS feed to your blog to my Homepage right after TwoWriting Teachers! I also like the succinct way you summarize the crafts you notice…separating the wheat from the chaf!

  2. Natalee says:

    I absolutely love going to my local library! I think that the free public library is one of the best inventions of the modern world! Living in central Massachusetts has several benefits: 1)my library building is rather old and has a beautiful atmosphere: high ceilings, a couple of smaller rooms with beautiful wood work and even a fire place in one room. 2) an entire floor for just the children’s room with LOTS of wonderful books and very knowledgeable, friendly librarians. 3) the C/W Mars system where you can easily borrow books from any library in central Mass- and manage your account online.

    I love my library!

  3. MOteacher says:

    I was directed to you site from Two Writing Teachers, and I totally get why! I read Wonderous Words a few years ago, and had forgotten about K.W.Ray’s suggestion of copying the cover of a beloved book and writing teaching points on it! I’m such a dork, I get giddy when I read about other people’s experiences in the library! In fact, I’m going to make plans to go myself today. And keep the mentor texts coming!

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