Saturday, September 7, 2013

Books Call to Us

It has been an unusually busy summer.  I've had lots going on in my personal life, and various circumstances have kept me from my reading.  I didn't read the scores of novels and kids' books that I try to read each summer.  I didn't have the ability to sit for extended periods of time to engage in texts, enjoy, explore, take notes, and savor the experience of reading.

And I really, really missed my reading.

For those of us who read (a lot), we acknowledge the importance it plays in our everyday lives.  We relish the opportunity to delve into a book, to glean knowledge, to look forward to the "take-aways" that reading offers to us.  In my case, whether it is a historical fiction, a best seller, or a nonfiction text dealing with self improvement or teaching, I get so excited to experience all that reading has to offer within the pages of these books.  So, when this summer came around, and I didn't have those same opportunities for reading, I realized, all the more, how much it was a part of my life.  And this understanding makes me think about the care I must take in my teaching to encourage the love of reading.

Students in my classroom already read.  Every day.  They are currently building stamina toward reading.  I can already tell those who have this stamina for reading -- they are the ones who are already on the carpet at the start of independent reading, well into the "Reading Zone," (a term I got from Nancy Atwell's book with the same title) and have already lost themselves in their books.  I have also observed some students who are a bit more reluctant -- those who may not (yet) love reading, and who have not come to appreciate all that reading can do for them. So, no matter how standards change, or what tests come our way, I am happy to affirm that the love of reading really is the ultimate goal for me with my students. My own summer experience confirmed this understanding for me even more in the past few months.

This is a stack of books that one of my students brought to class one day.
Now, THIS is a life-long reader!

I also realized something else...the love of reading won't let us go too long without a visit.  Books call to us.

When we become lovers of reading, we may have setbacks due to circumstances, and we may not read as much as we want to because events in our lives take precedence.  I now understand now that it will be okay, because my love of reading won't just "go away."  In recent weeks, I've slowly been building back up my time to read more often, and I'm planning carefully even though my schedule is still busy.  I feel like I'm welcoming back a good friend into my life.

I want so much to help cultivate a love of reading within my students in such a way that they will truly become life-long readers.  These are the kind of readers who bring a book with them virtually wherever they go, because it just makes sense (why would anyone not do this?).  Once students grasp this love of reading, I mean, really grasp it, I can relax just a bit, because I know that reading will call to them if they stumble or fall in their reading routine for a season in their lives.

I love that books seems to call to us.  I'm excited and eager to enter into another season of learning, growing, and enjoying all that books offer.  Welcome back, my friends.

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