Today we had a wonderfully blase group of 4th and 5th grade summer school students in for a tour and look-see of the library, some stories and some check-out. My part of the action was to share a story after the walkabout. I saw their eyes spark up a bit while we watched a newly hatched butterfly stretching it's wings and talked about metamorphosis on a very informal basis. Then we swept into the program area for the stories.
As a new staffer, I wanted to find out what they were doing in their summer school classes. They talked about math, science and reading - and some talked not at all. One particularly world-weary 10 year old announced that she had just finished a 709 page book. Without thinking, I popped back, "Wow, I could never do that! That's impressive." And I had an "aha" moment and shared something I had never told kids before.
I told the kids that it isn't that I wouldn't like to read long books...just that I am a slow reader. I told them I have a mild dyslexia which makes reading and working with numbers a challenge. It takes me a little longer with my reading...but that hasn't stopped me from loving books and making a very fun career in libraries. I wanted them to know that they could achieve lots even if something was a little harder for them. We went on from there to some fall-down funny storytelling. It felt as if many of the kids and I had made a special connection.
So many times we work with avid readers on staff and bright readers who are our customers. I felt today that I could offer something more to those kids who struggle with reading and think it isn't for them. It's funny how those moments happen - like a little light bulb suddenly illuminating a part of our life we hadn't looked at before in quite this way - and pieces fall into place for the first time. And it is truly wonderful when those moments help us make a true connection to kids.