All last week weather forecasters were bursting with glee at the thought of a historic snowstorm. No matter the channel, listeners were bombarded with warnings, emergency shopping lists and constant updates.
By Thursday grocery store shelves emptied, folks ate one more meal out before hibernating and batteries were at a premium in hardware stores. At my house, we double-checked all the necessary supplies and settled in.
The snow storm was slow and quiet at first. Friday afternoon brought delicate, confetti-sized flakes. Friday evening offered heavier but still gentle snow. Saturday held a steady, heavy stream of snow – colors of white and grey dominating the day.
Except for a few flickers, our power held out. We sat inside safe, warm and content. When the storm came to an end on Saturday evening the outside world was blanketed with drifts of white downy.
Schools are closed for the fourth day today and tomorrow is another day home. The hectic pace of teaching, graduate school and daily housekeeping has ground to a halt. For a busy, organized soul like me this respite is unusual and frankly, magical.
This unexpected vacation from the daily routine has affected my reading life too. As a reading teacher, I read everyday. My students and I have taken on Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge again this year. As a result, we read broadly across genres and fill our class days with book talks and conversation.
With six days home and counting, I have slowed down to look at my “to read” list and selected books that cross genres. I am sampling a little bit of everything in a short period. So far, I have read realistic fiction, scifi, fantasy, a graphic novel, non-fiction history. And…I have at least two more days of unencumbered reading time!
In the summer, my reading is guided by the day’s whim, trusted reviews and the stack on my bedside table. It is rare during the school year to have days on end to read. The beauty of my present reading retreat is my brain is engaged in teaching current students. I know what they like, I have a feel for passages that will speak to the students and I can envision texts fitting into current instruction. I am reading for pleasure AND with a broader purpose.
As I sit at my kitchen table sipping coffee and listening to jazz music, I think ahead to the day’s reading, journaling and not much more. Perhaps we will venture out…perhaps not. One thing is certain, I can’t wait to see what the day’s reading will offer.