Jennifer’s post is so well put, I couldn’t agree more with what she had to say. I too, did not become a reader because someone held me accountable, offered me “points”, limited my reading choices in anyway, or forced me to write book reports.
I became a reader because I loved listening to stories. Being read to was magical! I absolutely loved being read to as a child, I liked losing myself in the stories I heard. Even today, there’s something special about hearing a story; weather it’s an audiobook or hearing a storyteller, I will always love listening to stories.
Yet, being able to read myself was even better. Reading gave me independence. The library at my elementary school felt massive at the time, with walls and walls of books to choose from, and once I was a reader the choices seemed endless. I cannot recall all the stories I enjoyed as a child but I do have fond memories of hearing The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Wilson Rawls Where the Red Fern Grows. Both stand out as two stories I escaped into, and replayed over and over again in my head. I was also lucky enough to have parents who frequently took us to the public library. It was a great summer the year I discovered Keane’s The Family Circus and Keene’s Nancy Drew series .Two very different types of fiction, but that’s the beauty of a library – the serendipitous discoveries!
There was quite a long stretch in my school years, when the required reading of academics and sports took over, leaving me precious little time to enjoy reading. But then I was handed O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front and I instantly developed a love of historical fiction and my need for and love of reading returned.
As both Jennifer and Gwyneth wrote in their blogs, let’s encourage students (and teachers) to become readers. Let’s fill the shelves with books and allow students to make serendipitous discoveries, give them a choice what to read, encourage them, allow them to see us reading, and share the stories that made us readers.
Again, a big shout out to Jennifer LaGarde for her post Learning To Read Alone Is Not Enough. Your Students Need a Reading Champion, and Gwyneth Jone’s Reading: A Passionate Love Affair.