Do you love to read?

I am an avid reader. I’ll admit, it’s bordering on an obsession. There are stacks of books throughout my house, my office at school, and quite often, in boxes waiting for me on my front porch. I am passionate about books and reading and I love to share this passion with the kids I teach. Many former students have come back to visit and say the thing they remembered most was how much I loved books, and how I helped them learn to love books and reading.
 
But what if you’re a teacher who doesn’t love books? One who doesn’t read much beyond magazines, newspapers or articles on the web? One who doesn’t call herself or himself a “reader”? Can you still help foster a love of reading in the kids you teach?
 
One of my grad students recently shared that she really isn’t a reader. She recognized that this might be a problem since she’s expected to teach kids how to read and that she wants the students in her class to love reading. She decided to join a book club at her school, and shared with the class that it was the first novel she’s read since high school. I admire her honesty and willingness to be a learner alongside her students. I was thrilled when this same student came to class on the day we were doing our Young Adult literature book clubs saying that she was hooked on these kinds of books. She couldn’t wait to read the rest of the suggested books on our list and she was amazed at how quickly she had read her book. She discovered the hidden reader inside of her, and couldn’t wait to continue finding more good books to read.
 
I’ve always loved reading. It came easy for me, and I’ve always seen it as a huge part of who I am.  Perhaps teachers who don’t consider themselves readers just haven’t found the right book or motivation. So what if this grad student found her way in to the reading world by starting with Young Adult novels.  How we get there doesn’t matter.  It’s finding that porthole that counts — a porthole that we can slip through to begin our life as a reader. Being a reader makes being a teacher of reading easier – it really does. When we “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk” our kids notice. And that reading bug of ours eventually bites them and they become kids who love to read too.

4 Comments

  1. I definitely am on the obsessive side when it comes to reading! I agree that many “non-readers” just have not found a genre that they have enjoyed yet or that something with their school experience of reading or lack of exposure to books at home has prevented them from being hooked with reading. This is interesting to think when considering the last post on this blog about struggling readers in general. With “non-readers” it is the same. We can’t just assume that they will never consider themselves readers. Instead we need to work to help them discover a passion for reading.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post. I often don’t have time to read regular adult fiction because of the busy-ness of being a teacher. I have often felt guilty because I don’t read as much as I would like (except in the summer).

    Why haven’t I thought of reading more Young Adult literature? Or why don’t I count all those third grade trade books that I read to share with my kids? These are fabulous genres too and, of course, count as reading. This was the aha moment I got when I read your blog post. Thank you!!

    Also, I agree with Mrs. V. We must keep working to help our reluctant readers find the genre that they will connect with.

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