Monday, January 7, 2013

Slice of Life - Time to read


I posted this photo on Facebook a couple of days ago. It was of the books I read over break. Why did I post it? One, I love pictures, I love taking them, putting different filters on them, seeing if I can get the photo to look like what I visualize. Also, I posted it because a few years ago I began living my true life. Talking about books as much as I actually read them. Owning up to my obsession with everything on the printed page. My theory was, at the time, that if I shared my reading life with my friends – people would associate me with books. I might inspire others to read. I would give them someone to turn to when they needed a title, and so on.

So far it seems to have worked. I get messages all the time from friends I haven’t seen since high school – asking for advice to get their kids to read, asking for book recommendations, etc.

I should say, I don’t put the photo up – or talk about how much I read – to brag. I fully realize that I read more than many of my friends. But I have just as many who blow past me in reading. I will also be the first to admit that I read really fast. If I want to study a book, I have to slow down. Most of the time I’m doing what I call a “quick read”, read every word but at a fast pace and get the story down. If I want deeper thinking about a character, I reread.

So why? Why would I spend all of this time reading these books? I consider it part of my job description. There is just no way for me to recommend books to students if I haven’t read them. And I’ll be honest here, sometimes I get a little tired of the comments that infer I have no life if I read this much. Or teachers that ask why would I bother to read kids books when there are so many great books for adults. One – I don’t teach adults. Two – in my opinion kids books, especially young adult books, trump adult books every time.

As to how do I have a life if I read this much – honestly that’s pretty easy. I do spend time with friends and family. I do actually even have hobbies outside of reading. Fortunately for me, I don’t appear to find reality TV and police dramas as enthralling as the TV executives seem to think all Americans do. As a result, I watch roughly one hour of TV a week. (Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother) That frees up quite a bit of reading time right there. J Add those minutes to the ones I steal in the morning when the dog has awoken me before the sun, the ones when Liam pats my side and takes an hour to go to bed, the ones I stole as I read standing at the counter waiting for the water to boil for dinner, the ones where I sat listening to an audio book en route to get groceries, the ones where I read in the driveway, just to find out who kidnapped the king. Those minutes add up. It is what I tell my students and words that I live by. 

Slice of Life is sponsored every Tuesday by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers.

17 comments:

  1. Love this Katherine! It warms my heart to read how teachers are so invested and dedicated as you are. I can't remember the last time I read a "grown up" book. My daughter actually begs me to stop reading at night so I will turn off my book light and I hardly watch any TV also. I have only been this way for the past 1.5 to 2 years, since I read The Book Whisperer. I realized I was faking it when I had not read the books in my room that I was asking y students to read. The change in them (and me) have been wonderful. I also have hobbies, but my scrapbooking table is piled with books :) Thanks for sharing!

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  2. As I often say, your posts are inspirational! I get tired of the odd looks I get when I speak knowledgeably about children's literature, as you say it is part of the job description. Today I asked/told my team that I would love to start each meeting with a few quick book talks (one, two, or three of us can come with books to share). I shared two books today and talked to another colleague in the cafeteria about a few books I would recommend for her grade level.

    Thanks so much for being a model!

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  3. It is part of your job description to read, but you're beyond well-read. And that's a wonderful thing. How fortunate your students are to have a teacher who is so passionate about books that she makes reading such a priority. What a blessing you are to your kids, Katherine!

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  4. Katherine, I read your post with a smile. We celebrated Christmas with my sister in Florida this year and the big joke was how many books we got for Christmas. Everyone in my family received at least 4 different books (in fact, we were shopping at the local Barnes and Noble on Christmas Eve for last minute shopping). There was not one book exchanged in my sister's family. We laughed along as they called us book nerds, but secretly, I was pretty pleased that my grown up children have the same love of reading that I have. Now, I need to check out the titles you have in your photo.

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  5. Love it. This is the conversation I had with freshmen today. We talked about finding time to read. They don't have it they said. And then I talked about how I have made myself more intentional in finding time to read. My pile isn't as big as yours, but it's getting there!

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  6. I am embarrassed to say that I copied this quote yesterday from somewhere & have already forgotten where, but I think you'll like it: The truth of the matter is there is plenty of time to accomplish the things that need done. H. Jackson Brown, Jr. said, “Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.” You have said almost the same thing here, you use your time to read, important personally, to your profession, & to your students. Great post!

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  7. It is like looking at a pile of good friends, isn't it? I am itching to talk to you more about these reads. What did you think of On the Day I Died? I am definitely a fan of Candace Fleming and I ate that book up. I am impressed by your nonfiction selections peppered in there. And I gotta mention Book Love!



    It is so true what you say about the reactions of other people. As if you just read because you have nothing better to do. You don't HAVE time to read, you MAKE time to read--because you value it. Happy reading!

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  8. I love that last paragraph! So true!!

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  9. Well, I should say I am not a fan of scary books - I hate feeling afraid. And somehow I had several books like that in this stack! That being said, I really enjoyed On the Day I Died. I love anything Fleming writes. The book flew! And there is a waiting list in my classroom for it.

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  10. I was absolutely more intentional about it this break. On the Friday we got out I made a stack in my room of the books I wanted to read. I have so many in my house I need to read that a stack specific for break helped me focus. Grabbed a new one off of the stack as soon as I finished the last one.

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  11. Love it! I'm perfectly content being a book nerd. :)

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  12. Thanks, Stacey! I've always loved reading so it isn't exactly a tough thing for me!

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  13. Love the idea of starting with recommendations. Great focus!

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  14. Yes, the book piles always threaten to overtake our house.

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  15. Wow, that is so true! I always have a book, so it so easy to sneak in more reading time. I'm also not much of a tv watcher, or a gamer - so I have tons of time to read! :)

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