I finished a book last night. A book I read on stolen time. This book marks the fifth in one of the most awesome discoveries I’ve made! And although certainly not a new discovery, for me it accomplished a major goal I thought I’d only reach after I retire one day. It started with a ticket purchase, a gift, and a little attention adjustment.
The ticket purchase occurred last June. After the 2016 Tony Award show a new block of tickets opened and I was able to purchase 4 tickets to see ‘Hamilton’ the musical, in March of 2017 (that’s right, this month!!!). To pump up my husband to go see the show (he thought I was crazy to be so excited about a show that was nearly a year away) I bought him the book, Hamilton, by Ron Chernow, on DVD to listen to on his way to work. After he listened to the book I listened to it and then we got a little obsessed about America’s forefathers so Hamilton was followed by Jefferson, then Adams, then Washington.
Listening to a book while you are driving requires a little attention adjustment. I find myself having to rewind the book at times because I had to pay attention to the road (think distracted reading vs distracted driving) rather than the book. But once you get all of that figured out listening to books while driving is awesome!
At about the same time I was adjusting to my new form of reading I read Donalyn Miller’s book, The Book Whisperer. In it she talks about how she encourages her students to steal as much time as they can for reading. Instead of chastising students for rushing through their work so they can read she revels in it. This is such an awesome attitude! Donalyn goes on to explain that she doesn’t have as many behavior issues because her students always have something to do, and she doesn’t have any extra work to correct! Brilliant!
I brought this idea to my third graders. I told them about the book and about Ms. Miller’s idea. I told them how I have doubled my book intake by stealing minutes of reading while driving to and from work. They were very excited and with a little prompting were ‘stealing reading minutes’ left and right. Then I taught them a few educational card games to help them with some of their math skills and they began stealing minutes to play those games as well. Before I knew it my students were happily stealing minutes every chance they could to read and learn math, making all of us happy.
I highly recommend adopting this attitude, that stealing time for the things you love is right at our fingertips. This month we are all stealing time out of our busy days to add this Slice of Life to our days, why not find a way to steal a little bit more reading time as well! And while you are at it, bring the idea right into your classroom, you will be glad you did.
Oh, and the book I finished last night? The Attention Merchants by Tim Wu.