Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Love Affair with Books

Many of you know that I am a teacher.  Most of you probably know that I teach reading.  What you may not know is that I LOVE to teach reading.
  I often think back to when I was a child and would "hide out" in books.  Oh, don't get me wrong, my childhood was a lovely safe fun place but books could take me places that weren't like the real world.

I could be with George Washington, fighting the British in the morning and with Trixie Belden, solving criminal high-jinks in the afternoon.  (Apparently I have always been a genre-hopper.)

Even as a very young child, I loved reading and going to the library. I bet I read every Little Bear book ever written.  He and his friends always had the most marvelous time.  I think that is one reason that I value friendship so much.  It isn't nearly as much fun to have an adventure all alone.

Almost every day, as a reading teacher, I attempt to give my students a peek into the wide world that books can bring to them.  I have hundreds of all sorts of books in my room and we read a LOT.  I give my students lots of lee-way in their book selections.  Their own interests drive the selection process--not that it is Accelerated Reader book or how many points is it worth!  I really can't talk about my feelings about the Accelerated Reader program on the World Wide Web, not even with tenure.   But the point is that for the most part, I manage to find books that interest all of my students. We talk about how males usually like non-fiction best and females usually want a fictional story, but that it is always good to try new things.  We have a book recommendation wall where they can suggest books they enjoyed to their classmates.  I do these things to try to create a love of reading  in my students.

I guess that someone, probably my mother, helped create that love in me.  I do know that re-reading books from my childhood are like visiting with old friends.

Did you love to read as a child?  Can you remember when your love affair with books began?


  1. I read lots as a child -- mostly mysteries like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. I also went through the horse book phase with Black Beauty and Misty of Chincoteague. And then came college. I swore I'd never read another book after graduation. I began reading again when I lived overseas and found myself with weeks spent alone. I zipped through the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple books in the base library. And then in 2001 I discovered romance novels. Oh, I'd read the occasional Mary Stewart and Phyllis A. Whitney, but OMG! I fell in love with the genre and have never looked back.

    I hate that my recent unfortunate marital situation caused me to be unable to focus on a book for much longer than a chapter. It takes me weeks to read a book I used to be able to devour in a day. But it's getting better.

    My almost-five-year-old granddaughter loves books. She loves to sit in your lap and let you read to her. I hope that translates into being a good reader, cause Grammy will buy her books galore. Already have, actually. ~grin~

  2. I read a lot as a child too. My mother would take us to the library every Sunday afternoon to pick out our five books for the week. I read and read. I loved Marguerite Henry (Misty of Chincoteague) and The Black Stallion books. I enjoyed reading and it made me want to learn. I can say stuff about Accelerated Reading - I hated it when my son had to do it. The blasted point system made it more of a chore than a love. I don't think it is good because it made my son hate reading (he does read now for pleasure but for a long time he did not). I am glad to hear that you instill a love of books in the children. It is important that they learn to enjoy reading and that it is definitely not a chore. Keep up the good work Stephanie!!!!!!

  3. Little Bear was a favorite of mine as well. I still have my copy and read it to my boys. My dad took us to the library every week, and I do the same with my boys. And I have a lot of my childhood books, which I still read, especialy when I need some comfort. :)

  4. I credit my love of reading to seeing my parents read and them reading to me--though my mother read to me more than my daddy. She also subscribed to magazines for me--first Humpty Dumpty, and later Jack and Jill and Highlights.

    During my years as a youth services librarian, Accelerated Reading was the bane of my existence. It was cooked up by booksellers and educators(non) to make money and make things easier for teachers, unlike Stephanie, who didn't want to bother to teach. Parents would come in and say, "Where are the AR books?"
    Well, they were everywhere--depending on what tests the particular school had purchased. I had a list from each school, marked with the call number for we owned but that was never good enough. They wanted the books all together. They wanted colored coded dots on them, which would have been feasible if my had served a one community school. Counting the private schools, there were 15 elementary schools in the city alone. Then there was the county. And they all had different tests.

    And that's the lest of the reasons that I hate AR. There are children who are never permitted to pick a book because it looks fun. That leads to being a non reader and I don't think there's anything sadder.

  5. Where did my love of reading begin? Hmmm... Well, it's a sad story really. You see, when I was young, I didn't want to read. Not because I couldn't, but because I'd rather be outside. I was quite the daydreamer, gazing out the window when I should have been paying attention in class. Teachers got together and forced me to go to summer school to take a reading class. Blech! When everyone was out playing, I was stuck inside the classroom.

    I learned something that summer. Never let the teacher think you are stupid! And so, my quest to trick the teachers began in earnest. I was quite adept at raising my hand, offering my opinion to show I was paying attention. Soon, my little game became a habit and you might say I was quite the teacher's 'pet' to the chagrin of some of my friends.

    However, I was never told to take summer school again. Heehee! I loved to be read to and I loved movies and television. My grandparents got me Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill and Highlights. (I only wanted the Highlights magazine for the Find The Things page. Boy, how I loved to do that and got my kids hooked on it.) I, in turn, got those things for my kids. Knowing how much I hated to be stuck reading, I didn't want my children to feel the same way. They all love to read, but more importantly, they all love to learn. Even now they read National Geographic, they watch the History, Learning and Discovery Channel for fun.

    Reading, as you mentioned Stephanie, is all about finding what you like to read. When I was young I read comics. LOVED them! Then as a teenager, I read everything historical I could find. I loved stories about Valley Forge, Daniel Boone, Andrew Jackson and many others until I found romance.

    My children liked to read Goosebumps, so I bought those books. Whatever inspired them to read, I got it for them. Parents MUST encourage kids to read. They MUST be allowed to find what they like to read and that's why I do not like the AR program. Kids miss out on so many books because they don't have 'time' to read them as every extra minute is spent reading AR books and trying to get enough points to pass muster.

    Sounds like you are the kind of teacher kids really need, Stephanie! I wish there were millions more like you for other reasons as well.

  6. PM-I think you are on the right track to teaching your grand-daughter to love books! Lap reading can never hurt!

    Cheryl-I wish more parents felt the way you did and were vocal about A/R! I try to teach my students to read books they enjoy. We have the lowest AR points in the building but my students love to read. I think that makes us the winners! Thanks for the kudos!

    Reina-That is so great that you still have so many of your books. I wonder where my momma put mine???

    Jean-I had forgotten about Humpty Dumpty magazine. I wonder if they still print it. I got it and LOVED it! I can see where you, and most librarians would hate A/R.

    Kathy-You are too kind! I agree totally that kids must be encouraged to read what they love. It sounds like you did a great job teaching your own kids to love reading!