Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Lifetime of Reading

At the beginning of the school year, I attended a professional development session where we were asked to create a Reading Timeline. We received paper and markers, and outlined the continuum of our earliest reading experiences all the way to the present. 

My earliest memories were of reading with my parents and grandparents. I had story time before bed, received hand-me-down books from an older neighbor, and loved to entertain Grandma with the poems of Shel Silverstein (she especially enjoyed the one about "the girl who won't take out the garbage"). I always received books as gifts on special occasions. 

I loved books by Judy Blume (Superfudge) and Beverly Cleary (Ramona the Brave). A teacher once asked me, "Does your mother know you're reading this?" when I was "caught" with a book from the Sweet Valley High series. I responded, "She bought it for me." And nothing more was ever said! Further reading included titles from Lois Duncan, R.L. Stine, and Christopher Pike, which became my gateway to reading Stephen King. 

As a colleague and I explored our timelines, we slowly began to realize that our students don't have these rich reading experiences. When I ask them to name a favorite book or author, many can't. I believe that there is that ONE book for every student, a "homerun" book as Jim Trelease calls it, that will inspire a lifetime of reading. My mission during the time that I have with my students is to help them find it. 

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