Monday, January 14, 2013

Slice of Life - Why should you read?

Today as I checked my students in for reading class I noticed several hadn’t read over the weekend. I talked to them, explaining that we need to develop a reading habit, that being a life-long reader has countless benefits. But how to tell them everything I know? It is impossible. Finally, I decided to write it down what was in my head and in my heart. Here is what I am sharing with them on Tuesday.

Dear Students,

You know I am a reader,
And I want you to be one too.
But you are busy,
And sometimes don’t read.
What is to be gained from books?

It is through books we learn about others,
And the world around us.
We travel to distant places,
And houses around the block.

Through books I learned what I cannot comprehend
Divorce, sickness, heartache, loss.
Lessons pour forth from the pages,
I absorb them like a sponge.

From Rebecca I learn about divorce.
What it must feel like to have your dad
Stand by the car, crying, as you drive away.

From Fern I learn of strength,
Of loss.
Of Family,
Of loyalty.
And I hug my children.

From Hazel and Augustus I learn what love is.
That our hearts can be broken in ways that are unimaginable.
I fell in love with them the way you fall asleep:
Slowly, and then all at once. *

From Auggie I learn everyone deserves a standing ovation.
That people are more than their outsides suggest.
That you never know what people are carrying around inside.

From Early and Jack I learned what true friendship is.
How much loss can ache inside.
And that sometimes you need to hold true to your beliefs.

From Ivan I learned that bad guys are more than one-dimensional.
That we are all fallible.
But when the stakes are high,
We can achieve more than others believe.

All of this I have learned between the covers of books.
I learn about others.
I learn about the world.
I become empathetic, understanding, aware.
More than that, through books,
I can find myself.

I wish, dear students,
That I had met Mattie from Hound Dog True
When I was your age.
Just to know that it was OK to be quiet.
And that I needed to find my voice.

See, what you need to understand,
What you must understand,
Is that books make us become better people.
They teach us how to love others.
They teach us how to love ourselves.

I can think of no great gift as your teacher,
Than to help you find the way to becoming a reader.
Once you are one, a true reader, you will never look back.

Won’t you join me?
With love,
Mrs. S

*Quote altered from The Fault in Our Stars

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