Putting Himself in the Dot
JK was engaged at the light table. He seemed unaware of what was happening around him. His full attention was on his creation. He had carefully chosen a yellow dot from the many colors of dots and one of the small transparent figures presented on the table. His eyes were fixed on the figure as he slowly drew a similar figure onto his dot and smiled.
He made eye contact with me and said, “I am not done yet. This is me.” He then pointed to the figure he had drawn. He gazed at the book resting against the wall and began to draw a line on top of the light table. Round and round he went, spinning the dry erase marker. His hands, his shoulders, and even his head spun as he drew. With a huge grin he picked up his yellow dot and placed it on the line.
Spin . . .
He rode the line as the yellow dot all around the light table.
It was then that I made the connection that the dot in the book was yellow and it was about to roll down a steep line that looped like the line he drew. He was collaborating with the book!
The materials on the light table became a bridge between his world and the world of literature. Through “playing” with these materials and his imagination, he was able to bring himself into the book and experience it. In this moment, I saw him grow as a reader and a thinker through the relationships he was building with literature, lines, and movement. He wasn’t just reading the book: he was experiencing it.
As I consider what this story reveals about JK’s relationship with this text, I think about how the materials invited him to use the book as a springboard for questions of identity and connection. I wonder: How do you use materials to support emergent readers? How can we set up our classrooms to cultivate and invite more interactions between the text and the reader? What relationships are you seeing in your work between people, literature, and materials?