Good Books and Good Reading

Al Boerema prompts the conversation:

The topic for discussion this time is books and reading. Maybe you could write about your own experience of finding time to read, the importance of reading to you, or anything that hits in this area. And if you want to mention some new books that are important to you, add that as well.


On February 6, 2012, Rebecca De Smith starts us off:

Most educators agree that reading is a key skill children must learn. It affects every area of their school life and their adult life in significant ways. For some children and adults, reading is a pleasurable experience, but for others, it is a confusing, difficult, and not something they enjoy.

As a deacon in my church, I visit the elderly regularly. Two ladies I visit, both in their eighties, are lifelong readers; they always have a book at their side. We often discuss what we are reading, and we recommend books to each other. Sometime in their past, they were encouraged to read, were drawn into stories, and made a decision to keep reading, despite the busyness of life. That decision now sustains them, keeping their minds engaged and their imaginations sharp through long afternoons in the nursing home.

As teachers, one goal we often discuss is how to make our students lifelong readers. We should remember that becoming a lifelong reader can take many paths. My personal journey did not begin in a print-rich home, but rather in a two-room country school. Dick and Jane taught me to read, but reading practice came when I had to wait for my teacher to work with students in other grades. My desire to read came from authors like Frances Hodgson Burnett and Louisa May Alcott, who brought me into worlds unlike my own.

As an adult, my desire to read greatly outweighs my time to read. Because teaching demands both my days and my nights, finding time to read can be tricky. Often, I feel the need to read professionally in order to direct my teaching, so during the school year, that is my focus for selecting books. But give me a few days off or a long car ride, and I will read endlessly. Books still take me to places and introduce me to people that are exciting, mystical, and mysterious. They help me understand a part of life or nature I never would explore on my own. Books engage my imagination, show me a new perspective, and teach me how to live into the relationships around me. Books teach me truth, even when I am reading fiction. So I have made a conscious decision to keep reading.

Sharing this love, excitement, and need for reading with my students is an important way to encourage them to embrace reading for a lifetime. As teachers, we must all work toward helping our students see the joy and value reading brings into our lives.

Here are some books that I have read during this past year that have positively affected my teaching: [This is only part of the article. Want to read more? Subscribe to the website by choosing "Register" from the menu above. It's free!]