Readers workshop was drawing to a close, and I heard something that was just music to my ears. Jacob said, "Ms. Mertz, you HAVE to read this book!" With a giant smile on his face, Jacob showed me a graphic novel by Raina Telegemeier called Kristy's Great Idea: The Baby-Sitters Club. Jacob went on to say, "Everybody's been reading these books. They are so great. You need to read this. I'll give it to you when I'm finished."
You might be thinking, "So what's the big deal? A kid recommended a book to you." Well, here's the big deal. It's music to my ears to hear the buzz in a classroom when they are truly a community of readers. Communities of readers have a feeling of electric frenzy with kids sharing or buzzing about the books they are reading. It's about kids seeing themselves as readers who have choice and a voice to share with others. Nobody said, "Read this book because it's your level." Jacob told me to read the book because he and his classmates have found value in the process of sharing the experience of reading.
Could I have recommended the same book and been able to get Jacob to read it? Maybe. Probably. Will I read the book due to Jacob's recommendation? Of course I will.