This past weekend I was lucky enough to purchase a copy of a highly-anticipated new book a few days early. I took it to school with me yesterday, and when it was time to set our reading rates for the week, I wrote the title on the board and waited for someone to notice what I was reading.
At the end of each school day I hold open one of the exits doors and say goodbye to students as they leave. Yesterday I was the only one available right at 3 to do this, so I stood next to the door reading my new book in the minutes before school ended, and I held the book in my hand, cover facing out, as the students exited the building. And I waited.
Sure enough, in both instances students noticed what I was reading, and I was mobbed by eager readers. How'd you get that? Is it good? Can I see it? Seventh grade boys who had been annoyed with me at recess because I wouldn't let them lasso each other with a jump rope and a hula hoop suddenly wanted to be best friends.
These weren't accidents on my part. I wasn't trying to be cool, although I'm always glad for students to know that I'm reading what they're reading. What I wanted in this case was to keep building the buzz about books and reading in my school. I wanted to remind students that a new book was coming in their favorite series. I wanted them to go home and beg for a copy. I wanted the dozens of parents who stood nearby to see a teacher with a book, to see students, boys even, eagerly asking a teacher about a book.
Try it. Carry a new book down the hall. Let students see you reading their favorite. They'll notice.