This year’s group of fifth graders are something special. Not only are they creative thinkers and problem solvers, but they’re also still kids at heart. During the first week of school, a few visited the library to vent. They were annoyed that – for reasons out of my control – they do not get to hear many picture books read aloud anymore, as they do not have a dedicated library “class”. With little effort, we stumbled on an easy fix:
Introducing Lunch & Listen in the library. With very little fanfare – a white board announcement in the hall and a last-minute email to their teachers – I invited my 5th graders to eat in the library while I read picture books to them.
The response blew away my expectation: over 40 students – boys and girls alike – showed up over the course of lunch, meals in hand. It should be noted that food is allowed in the library, and only guideline I gave the students was to leave no evidence of lunch behind. They listened, too: only 1 silverware packet was left behind.
The children ate silently as I read three books: Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton, The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach, and Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio. By this time, lunch had ended and many students left the room for recess. A handful stayed, though, so I shared one more book – Aaron Becker’s Journey.
No photos of this event, as I was too busy reading. But the white board really worked: I heard from numerous teachers, parents, and aides that they loved the idea. One 4th grade teacher relayed that her former students visited her to tell her all about it and how much they liked it. All it took was finding books – not hard – and giving up my own lunch period – again, not hard. With very little prep and very big results, Lunch & Listen is a program to continue.