I am so excited about our learning and our work together this year. I've been enjoying getting to know you as readers and writers. I've been enjoying hearing about your hobbies and interests and your dreams. One thing I've loved experiencing with you is how much reading changes lives. From the first day of school, I wanted to start communicating to you the immense amount of respect I have for reading, and about how much reading changes lives. Although I never quite came out and told you like that, I have always believed it. I have always wanted to see that spark in your eyes for books the way that I feel that spark every day as your teacher.
Books can change lives. From the pages of a book, we see a heroine conquering some terrible conflict, a boy surviving in the wilderness, a family moving and adjusting to a new home. We see friendships blossom and change, we experience adventures, happiness, tears, disbelief, and honor. We come to see the world in a new way, just by reading.
In reading books, we come to see outside ourselves. We experience the lives of others. We expand our understanding of the world. We relate to others. We learn to sympathize with the characters when they hurt, so we come to understand how to do so with people in our own lives. We feel fear with different characters when they learn to take risks, and by so doing, we become just a bit less fearful of taking those risks ourselves. We marvel at a character's bravery or courage, and we discover that we can have some of that bravery or courage in our own lives, if even just a little bit more, from having read the pages of a book.
With books, we can learn and grow. We can challenge ourselves to learn new skills. We can enrich our knowledge about the world. We can discover a new hobby or find out about something we have never heard about before. Books help us become greater thinkers and problem solvers, because we have more information to work with, and we can use that information practically in our lives as we make daily decisions.
Books are also just plain fun. When we need to relax or rejuvenate, we can turn to a book. We can give our minds a bit of an escape, if only for a bit of time. We allow ourselves the gift of relaxation. We come away from a reading experience like this even more excited about reading, because for us in that moment, reading for fun is just, well, SO fun.
So, I will continue to work on showing you this love of reading that I have. For a few more months, this is still my goal, my mission. I am so glad that so many of you love reading. You have seen the value in it, and you are living the life of a reader--I can tell. I look forward to further conversations, great talks about books, and shaping the experiences of your reading lives even more.