For quite a few years in addition to being principal I was the librarian at the school.
I love to read aloud.
I love the hush in a room when the kids settle into the story.
I love stopping to let a thought ripple outward like a stone tossed in a pool.
I love when a kid says, “We read that last year.” Not as a critique but as a greeting for an old friend.
Sometimes I read picture books to show writing craft. Others for a laugh or to take them somewhere new.
And then there are the stories with lessons. Telling a lesson through story is a time honored practice.
For me empathy is one of the most powerful and important character skills out there. In a world of boundaries and borders, labels and categories, fences and walls, empathy is so desperately needed.
I found a great book to read that, to me, brought empathy home. It is called Hey Little Ant and tells the story of an ant about to be stepped on by a kid. It uses the voices and perspectives of both ant and child.
I read to second grade with drama, emphasis and lots of voice.
At lunch recess that day, I saw a group of second graders doing a strange dance by the steps to the top building.
What are you guys up to, I asked.
Stomping ants, they told me.