Monday, December 19, 2011

The Importance of Reading - Slice of Life

Slice of Life posts can be found at Stacey and Ruth's blog - Two Writing Teachers

Last week on Travis Jonker’s blog he shared the following video from Colby Sharp:

I showed this video for all of my reading classes, my husband, and my sons. I loved it. Colby’s enthusiasm was evident in my classroom and not just by the fact that all of the 5th grade boys had all of the Babymouse books checked out. After probably the tenth showing of said video, I began to reflect on my own feelings regarding reading.

I’ve always been a reader. I read for pleasure. I remember curling up with A Baby Sister for Frances by Russell Hoban when my mom told me she was having a baby. Ramona was one of my best friends. Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret by Judy Blume was a book I read so many times I memorized it.

I read for comfort. I often hid behind my books too. I was a pretty shy kid and when I didn’t know how to deal with my friends or situations, I would pull out a book. When I was pregnant with my boys my anxiety would kick in at night and I would be so nervous that something was wrong with them. The only thing that would calm me down at 2 am was reading favorite passages from Jan Karon’s Mitford series.

I read to connect. Through high school I read Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry a crazy amount of times. My sister, brother, and I watched the mini-series on TV. Later, we bought the videos and mapped out the route they took to Montana. Even now I connect with friends on Twitter about the books we are reading. We even created a book club, The Nerdy Book Club, to further connect through reading.

After watching Colby I wondered again, was my love of reading evident to my students? To my own children? I glanced around my classroom last week. My students were discussing their reading plans for the holidays. I heard “borrowed” terms from my discussions with them being thrown around. I could see my reading life reflected in theirs.

And then, last night, my oldest son sat down by me. I had brought home a huge stack of books from our public library. After a few hours of reading I made my way through it. Luke sat down and asked, “So Mom, any books I should know about?” I handed him Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires and gave him a quick blurb on it. I went back to entering my books into Goodreads and then glanced over and saw this:

This picture makes my heart soar. When I saw Colby’s video I knew his enthusiasm would make readers out of those students. His passion will be passed on to them. I prayed that, in my own way, I was doing the same. Upon some reflection, I believe I am.