"There's a book for every reader, and a reader for every book."
-Reading in the Wild, page 61
Sometimes, when we hear about students (or adults) who "hate" reading, we do little more than gasp, followed by a slow shake of our heads to show our true disappointment. But when it comes to students in our classrooms, I simply can't leave that statement alone. It brings out such passion in me. I automatically want to come to reading's defense, but I know I need to draw them in gradually. It's truly a matter of finding the right book for each child at the right time and place. We never know when the spark or joy of reading will take place, but every person has a book waiting for him or her.
Our job as teachers is to be excellent listeners, from the very first day of school. When we gather information about them through the year in terms of their hobbies, their pets, their interests, and even their struggles, we can begin suggesting book titles for them. I've often found that asking students to bring several bins to a comfortable spot, and talking through several titles with them works well. Book recommendations also works wonderfully, as students are definitely motivated to read what their peers are reading.
I'm so thrilled that most of my students are reading voraciously, and that most of them have found many books they love. But a few outliers still struggle with book selection and abandoning books too often. These are prime opportunities for me to revisit their interests, and take some time to sit with them to discuss their next book to read.
Every year, my biggest passion is to help guide students toward the love of reading. Many students already have this foundation well before they step into my room. Others just need a gentle push, while a few others hang on the outside looking in. I hope tomorrow is another student's opportunity to find a book that totally captivates them, leaving them with a hunger for more and more books. It will happen. I just need to be patient.