I work for a wonderful administrative team that supports reading and student growth in all kinds of ways.  I appreciate them for what they are, because in the past, I’ve most definitely encountered some more like this Taylor Mali inspired post!



He says the problem with spending class time reading is–

What’s a kid going to learn 

from burying their nose in a book written by someone

named Lemony Snicket?

He reminds me that I have an obligation to teach bell to bell

and while I may think a quiet conversation with a student counts,

on the walk-through form, it does not.

I decide to bite my tongue

and resist the temptation to smack him with

Readicide or the binder with my Reading Next printout

because he is my evaluator, after all, and I need to remain

gainfully employed.


I mean, you’re a veteran teacher, Pam.

Be honest.  What kind of difference do you think a few minutes of reading will make?


Well, since you asked me to be honest…

You want to know what kind of difference reading will make?

Reading empowers students more than any other single thing we can do in this building!

A well-written story can give an isolated student who is afraid to talk to anyone about a problem the courage to stand up, speak out, and get help.

The words he reads can touch a student who has been in your office so many times he has his own monogrammed chair and open a window to the future– maybe one in which his creativity cures cancer.

Reading can give a student who doesn’t even know they are lost or searching for something a map they desperately need.

Time in a book can transport a student who has never left her hometown to the outer reaches of the universe or to the center of the earth. It can show her culture she would not otherwise see and plant seeds that grow into mighty dreams.

It levels the playing field between the haves and the have-nots.

Twenty minutes a day turns students into word millionaires. They have vocabulary riches in the bank.


Students sit through 15 minutes of reading in my class a few times a week.

No you may not work on math right now. Why won’t I let you go to the bathroom?  Because you’re trying to avoid your book, and you don’t really have to go, do you?

And then, after they try that a few times, they instead ask for help finding a book.   Then they read.

And they read some more, and some more, and some more.

And what difference does THAT make?


They learn that the world can be a better place.

They learn that they can be better people.

They learn that life isn’t always fair and to appreciate it when good comes their way.

They learn the power of choice, the power of saying no, and that the power of knowledge is theirs for the taking.


Let me break it down for you so you understand why I do what I do in class:

Reading makes a difference far beyond any test-prep I might do with that few minutes ever could.


In case you’ve never seen the original, here you go!  Enjoy!  What Teachers Make