Yesterday was an exciting day for me! The Fed Ex truck pulled up while I was eating breakfast and delivered 3 heavy boxes. My newly published book, Laura Candler's PowerReading Workshop: A Step-by-Step Guide had arrived! This book was published last year in ebook form as Empowering Readers: A Quick Start Guide to Reading Workshop, but it was revised and updated in 2011 and given a new name. Seeing it in print for the first time was a special moment for me.
What is it about a print version of a book that makes it seem so much more real than an ebook? Is it the fact that I grew up as a voracious reader and constantly had a book in my hands? Perhaps the sensation of holding a physical book is similar to the "comfort food" feeling of eating forbidden homemade treats I once enjoyed. Print books recall those happy childhood years I spent discovering the joys of reading.
Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of ebooks - I love the fact that they don't take up space on my shelf and I don't lose them. I've been writing ebooks for the last 3 years and I've been purchasing them longer than that, so I obviously see the value in them. In fact, Power Reading Workshop is available in digital form because ebooks are so darned convenient! But there's still something about a print book that grabs me. I wonder if children born today will have the same affinity for print books? Somehow I think not. Their "comfort book" feeling will be related to holding an eReader of some sort!
As I hold my first print first copy of Power Reading Workshop, I'm filled with gratitude for the many inspiring books that convinced me to try reading workshop, books like Steven Layne's Igniting a Passion for Reading and Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer. I'm also grateful for the teachers who field-tested the strategies in Power Reading Workshop with their students and helped me fine-tune the program.
As an avid reader myself, it saddens me that many of today's kids haven't discovered the joys of reading. So when I discovered the power of this approach a few years ago, I knew I had to share with others, especially upper elementary teachers like myself, teachers who would appreciate step-by-step directions for implementing reading workshop. I set up a discussion group called Empowering Readers to help me tweak the process, and I'm indebted to those teachers for the terrific ideas they shared and the solid advice they gave me. Now that many of them have wrapped up a year of reading workshop, it's been extremely gratifying to read the success stories that have been sent to the group - stories of kids who love to read AND who have made tremendous growth on state reading tests.
Reading Workshop really does work! The method works when kids are reading print books, and it will work just fine when print books no longer exist. But in the meantime, I'll treasure my very first print copy of Power Reading Workshop!