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 is a former teacher and the author of the Mr. Terupt series, The Perfect Score series, and What Comes Next. As a young boy, he spent countless hours exploring the woods. He is a true country-music fan, as are his wife and children, though they won’t admit it.

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