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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

The power of choice and possessing

Just a tiny note today to ask if you remember ordering books from the paper book clubs teachers send home? Were you one of the fortunates who agonized over each title, finally carefully filled in their order, saved their money, and proudly handed the teacher the thin slip of paper? Did you wait never knowing how long it would take for your books to come, until, one day when you’d forgotten, the teacher suddenly handed you a precious gift of a book with your slip of paper in it?

Do you remember the thrill of holding your book while your classmates tried to see what you’d ordered and compared your choice with theirs? Did owning the book make you feel more powerful? Sometimes did you order something silly just because you could like a Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson poster of the Hardy Boys?

We checked with each teacher at school to see which classrooms were sending home flyers, then organized appropriate Scholastic book club flyers for each of the classrooms not participating to allow those students the opportunity. Out of the first 15 classrooms for which I stapled notes, wrote codes, and separated flyers, only seven orders came in the first week. I could have been disappointed but with 98-99% Title 1, I know my students have little funds.

The reaction when I delivered these orders yesterday was spectacular. Seven different classrooms witnessed me slipping in the room, locating the student, and handing him or her their wrapped order. I watched as most of the students hugged their books to their heart and then proudly showed them off.

One of the students shyly slipped to her locker to put the books in her backpack. The teacher intervened as students begged to see her books and reminded them that everyone has the right to privacy. These students understood immediately because I have taught them from day one that they have the right to read whatever they want and no one else has the right to know. They proudly press the ESC button after scanning their books so the next student doesn’t see what they chose (even if two minutes ago they were excitedly talking about their choices).

When the students were heading out the door, I heard their teachers reminding them that they don’t “walk and read” at school. I can empathize with their need to start reading that book immediately and I’m glad I was able to put orders in seven families hands. Let’s see if those numbers go up next month. Last year no classes were participating. This year all 25 classes are.