Please join me in welcoming today’s guest blogger, Holly Mueller. Holly is a 5th/6th grade ELA gifted intervention specialist with a wonderful husband who understands her O.B.B.D. (Obsessive Book Buying Disorder), and two talented, amazing daughters. Holly loves to read, write, teach, travel, and hang out with friends and family. Holly’s family have a hilarious Cocker Spaniel, Ben, who keeps her laughing and encourages her to take lots of walks. Holly is a Choice Literacy contributor and frequent blogger. You can find her on Twitter and her blog, Reading, Teaching, Learning.
The first book was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. By now, every teacher has heard of this amazing book. I read it aloud as our first book of the year and to accompany our unit on empathy. At my fall orientation, I invited the parents to read along with us, and had gathered ten extra copies from our award-winning Cincinnati Public Library (they are wonderful about compiling multiple copies of books for classroom use). The copies were all quickly snatched up; parents then signed up on a waiting list.
By the time I was done reading the book aloud, all the parents who wanted to join us had read it. Throughout the experience, parents sent me e-mails about how they reacted to the book. I loved thinking about my students and their families talking about Wonder around kitchen ta
bles and counters, in the car running to practices, and in family rooms. Even siblings got in on the reading. I keep a classroom blog, and when I would post questions and student discussions on it, parents would join in on the conversations in the comments. To culminate the experience, we held a Parent/Student book club gathering on a weekday evening at my school. I prepared discussion questions, showed a couple of interview videos with R.J. Palacio, and then we talked and talked. It was amazing to hear the interaction and see the enthusiasm the book created.