Slice of Life: Lessons my students teach me

There is nothing quite like connecting to an author or a character in a book. And when we share that love with another human, our feeling for the literature and each otter rise exponentially.

Yesterday I asked my students to come to the carpet if they were interested in Kate DiCamillo’s new book. In less than 15 seconds, half of the class was seated in front of me. I held up two copies of  Louisana’s Way Home.

“I just finished this book. And you know what? The main character, Louisana Elefante, is from Lister, Florida,” I said.

“Elefante? Is there a Raymie in it?”

I was expecting the Lister to intrigue them because of our read aloud, The Tiger Rising, but no, The connection was to another book they had read on their own.

“Why yes! She’s her best friend!”

“Is there a cat named…”

“A dog…”

“Beverly…”

Yes. Yes and yes.

I didn’t tell them this was a sequel to Raymie. And I’m glad I didn’t. They saw it, and as so often happens, they taught me something. About their reading lives and about the story. Truth be told, I didn’t get far enough in Raymie Nightengale to see those connections.   At the moment I read Raymie, it didn’t work for me. I set it aside. But, I couldn’t put Louisana’s Way Home down. She captured me in a way Raymie did not. Funny how that works.

I raffled off the first read of this lovely book.  The ones that didn’t get the first read picked up Raymie Nightengale to keep them company while they wait for Louisana’s Way. I had that same feeling. I wanted to read Raymie, Give her a go again. Seems I’ll have to wait. All the copies are checked out.

It never ceases to amaze me. What my students add to my understanding and love of literature.