Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Yesterday, during lunch, my colleagues and I had a great conversation about reading. Specifically, reading and how it needs to be fostered within the home. If the children don't see their parents reading, then what's the point? Why do they need to read for homework while their parents sit and watch TV? It's not a skill they see used, so why is it really that important?
And, if they weren't read to throughout their childhood, then their road to literacy has had many cracks, potholes, and obstructions from the beginning. We've got to interfere before they come to the dead end.
My mom just happened to have posted these pictures this morning, reminding me of just how much reading was fostered in our household. Admittedly, I was not the biggest fan of reading. Give me an afternoon of freedom and you'd find me down in the creek or up in a tree. My siblings are incredible readers, quick readers, and analytical readers.
I was surrounded by literature, encouraged to read books that interest me, taken to the library, and read to at night. Not only that, but you would/will never find a night when my parents weren't/aren't reading. Newspapers, magazines, books, plays, and more books fill my parents' house.
I am growing into that more and more each year and being an English teacher has definitely molded me into a lover of rich texts. I never would have chosen this job for myself, that's for sure! But it wasn't because the foundation wasn't in place in my house. And I still received all of the skills I needed to make it through college and now to begin enjoying... yes, enjoying reading for pleasure and with students!!!
It's sometimes dismal for me to teach English due to the fact that we've already lost so much ground. The foundations, for these children, are still in shambles after 11 years. Construction needs to be fast, but often seems too slow and delayed. Or worse yet, they regress, for one reason or another. Many leap forward, but it's the ones we lose...
Time lost. Wasted moments. Books closed. TV on. Worlds, plots, characters left unexplored.
Tomorrow we'll finish the novel we've been reading for the last few weeks. It's a mystery and the students, both avid and lazy readers, are exploding with ideas for the suspects and how the plot is unfolding! It's truly a joy to be a part of this experience with them. Some who started out paying little attention to the novel are now the most active in the investigation and pulling pieces of the text together in their Reader's Journal or in classroom discussions. I always get a bit sad when we finish a novel, for it brings such unity to the classroom. But it's a reminder of how far we've come and drives my need/love for fostering a love for reading.