This photo popped up on my Timehop today. This is my kid in his happy place. Then and now, books are his happy place, his solace, his main source of entertainment. Last week I caught myself telling him to stop reading in the car on the way home. I wanted to talk with him and he was so engrossed in his book. So… I am not that mom that tells their kid to get off their phone (he doesn’t have one), or stop playing games, or stop watching television. I am the mom that says stop reading. I am the parent that will go in debt buying my child books.
I can’t say the apple fell very far from the tree. I would rather get lost in a book any day too. I can’t count the number of books I have read in the last month.
At least once a week I ponder what this means for the students I work with. I know not all of them are book lovers. For some reading is a struggle. Others haven’t found their reading niche. I know some of them have yet to see the beauty in a word or a series of words, a character, or a plot line. But, what can we do to instill a small bit of book love into each of them?
- Reading Interviews: Do them. Do them now! I used to do them at the beginning of the year. I wanted to know how my kids felt about reading, what they preferred to read, and how they liked to read. This information guided my instruction for the entire year.
- Say No to Book Logs: Last summer this article came out on book logs. In it the author writes “students assigned the mandatory log showed diminished interest in recreational reading.” Is your goal to create life long readers? If it is, then stop the book logs. Book logs or any other type of tracking system do not ensure intrinsic motivation when it comes to reading.
- Reading Goals: Help your kids set realistic reading goals, and not just a number of books to read. Encourage them to set goals related to reading strategies or reading across genres or vocabulary. Reading isn’t a numbers game.
- Book Talks: I loved book talks in the classroom. At the end of your reading block allow your kids to share their favorite books with the class. The enthusiasm students show for books, their recommendations and connections tell us more than any written book response every could.
- Share Your Reading: I always had a place in my room where I shared what I was currently reading with the class. It was usually a dry erase board. Each time I began a new book I listed the new title. This wasn’t the book I was reading with my students. It was the book/s I was reading at home or on my own time. Sometimes the title I was reading was placed on the door outside my room. When all the teachers in the building are sharing their reading with the school community like this it emphasizes the importance of reading to not only our students, but also to the greater community. During DEAR time I read my book. I didn’t grade papers or do lesson planning. I read with my students. I demonstrated my passion for reading and hopefully inspired them to see reading as more than a class during the school day.
- Read Aloud: I know finding a few minutes of the day to read aloud is difficult with district mandates and curriculum standards. But, there is nothing better than reading to a group of students curled up on the carpet, hanging on every sentence, moaning when a chapter was over.
This morning I met with one of our reading teachers. I was left aching for the days I taught reading. I miss the days of sharing any of my passions with my students and watching their growth. To console myself I am going to go bury myself in a good book!