The Heart of Reading

an essay by Rob Buyea

While I’m no longer working as a teacher, it was because of my students that I started writing. Their energy, their spontaneity, and their creativity inspired me. They pushed me to be the best teacher possible.

I get the opportunity to visit schools near and far because of my books, and though much has changed in education, there are a few constants for me. The moment I step in front of a group of students, I can feel their excitement—it’s infectious. I’m delighted by their thoughtful and sometimes funny questions. For example, a fifth-grade boy in Georgia asked, “Mr. Buyea, do you believe all people are good?” After seeing one of my old wrestling photos, a girl in Missouri asked, “Mr. Buyea, where have all your muscles gone?” Kids continue to amaze me. They make me laugh—sometimes at myself—and they always make my visits rewarding.

Reading aloud from a favorite book still captivates an audience, and it remains one of the best ways to inspire reading. A string of sentences can cast a spell over a group. Nothing beats watching the faces in the crowd and knowing exactly when people will gasp or erupt in laughter. I love it when students rush to the library to find copies of the books I’ve introduced to them.

The pressures of increased standards and testing are ever-present. Unfortunately, with so much emphasis on test scores, teachers sometimes struggle to find time for everything. Yet now more than ever, teachers are making a difference in students’ lives.

My new book, The Perfect Score, has great kids, unforgettable recess scenes, and looming tests. It also has teachers who adore books and who put their students at the heart of everything they do. I can’t wait for my readers to meet this new diverse cast of characters. As I gear up for another year of school visits, I’m eager to share excerpts. I look forward to sharing laughs and to answering insightful questions from the very students you may be teaching.

Happy reading!
Rob Buyea

Rob Buyea

ROB BUYEA taught third and fourth graders for six years; then he taught high school biology and coached wrestling for seven years. Currently, he is a full-time writer and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and daughters. His first novel, Because of Mr. Terupt, was selected as an E. B. White Read Aloud Honor Book and a Cybils Honor Book. It has also won seven state awards and was named to numerous state reading lists.  Mr. Terupt Falls Again and Saving Mr. Terupt are companion novels to Because of Mr. Terupt. Visit him online at robbuyea.com and on Facebook, and follow @RobBuyea on Twitter.

*If you’re interested in having Rob Buyea in your classroom or library, email us: slmarket@prh.com