THIS is why I teach . . .

It’s really not cool — not at all — to cry in front of 8th graders.  So I didn’t.  But today I came mighty close.  Today was the last reading of Cynthia Lord’s Touch Blue, a novel I chose carefully as our debut read aloud for the year.  As we gathered on the carpet, Reader’s Notebooks ready for response, I proceeded to read the last two chapters.  It was magically quiet as we stepped inside Tess and Aaron’s world for one last summer day.  I read the last sentence in its brilliant three word simplicity, then closed the book reverently.  Silence — for a good 2-3 seconds (which can seem really long) — followed by spontaneous, heartfelt applause.  Eighth graders generously clapping at the end of a read aloud.  Just because.

It’s a privilege to share story with kids, even “big kids.” And it’s a pleasure when I observe teen readers already picking up Ms. Lord’s Rules because they know and trust this author will deliver a good read.

Silvya already asked what I was going to read next.  I don’t know.  For now, I’ll linger in the afterglow of this book for a few days, knowing the commitment of time for read aloud and response has been rewarded.

Don’t let anyone tell you 8th graders are too old to succumb to story!


  1. Sounds like a lovely book… I will have to get my hands on that one. Miss those read-alouds, Nancy… such an amazing gift! Lucky kids…

  2. This book is on my “books to read” list! Once again you seem to have chosen the perfect book for your group of eager readers!

  3. I put this on hold at the library and am picking it up tomorrow! I loved “Rules” so I’m betting that “Touch Blue” is going to be on my top book list, as well.

  4. It has been inspiring for me to hear how much your 8th graders have loved this book — no vampires, no gore, no frantic-paced action … just a rich and deeply-felt story of caring and acceptance! Good on ya, Nancy!


  5. Nancy, it sounds like you are living the life. So full of color, people and great reading. So glad you love your job and your decision to go. Life is short. You have grabbed onto it in all its adventures.

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