Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I finally have marked enough things off of my "to-do" list that I felt that I could devote an afternoon to a book that I have wanted to read for a while. I am half way through the book and have shouted "Amen" several times, jotted down ideas to take back to school in August and my mind is racing with ways to stop this movement....to kill the love of reading.
This book has me reflecting on my own reading life. I loved books as a child. I had a mother that read to me, an amazing kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Abernathy, that read aloud to us throughout the day and talked to us about books. During nap time, she would read us stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and friends and do all of the voices. I can still remember laying on my peach beach towel and hanging on every word. This continued through the next several years and then was lost. I remember "the middle years" filled with the awful chore of reading a book and doing a book report or a project. Then, a wonderful teacher in Chesapeake, Virginia, Mrs. Woolery, turned me back onto the magic of reading in the 10th grade. Each night we read assigned portions of novels and the next day we discussed them in class. We all got to share our "take" on what we had read and no idea was judged or rejected. It was an awesome escape from being told what to think....and I remember enjoying reading each night and looking forward to that class daily. From that day on, I continued to read for enjoyment and now can't ever find enough time to read all the books that I would love to read.
My own experience reflects some of how teachers unintentionally kill a child's love of reading. As adults, we read and think and then love to discuss these thoughts with others who have read the same book. Just recently I was with a group of my girlfriends, going to see Eclipse. In the car, we were having the all too familiar Jacob vs. Edward discussion and were giving our reasons by siting the text and things that occurred to draw us to one side or the other. As one person supported their thought, another would chime in and say...."see I totally didn't get that from that part, I thought..." And, my teacher brain kicked in and I thought, this is what kids need. I dare say we would have all enjoyed presenting a shadow box or poster accompanied by a written report, but we loved analyzing, supporting and sharing our thoughts. We have to remember this as teachers and give students lots of interesting books, magazines, articles, etc. to read and then give them authentic ways to share their thinking and their experiences with the text.
I can't wait to read more of this book and revise my teaching practices to help to nurture a child's love for reading and not squash it. The book shares lots of ways to stop the movement and turn it around. I'll be sharing more!