Thursday, July 10, 2014

#cyberPD: Reading in the Wild (Part 1 of 3)

First of all, thank you to Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine: Building a Learning Community for organizing and hosting this week's #cyberPD!

As I began rereading the first two chapters of Donalyn Miller's Reading in the Wild, I found myself reflecting on my own reading journey and how that has evolved over the course of my life.  As a young child I remember my mom taking my siblings and I to the library weekly so we could pick out our five books.  What a challenge it was to select just five each week.  I loved the feel of the books in my hands and sitting in my mom's lap listening to her read to me was a special time.  My next memory is first grade.  I don't remember ever being read to, but do remember the blue plaid phonics workbook.  As I progressed through elementary school, I remember reading stories in basal readers, but don't remember one story I read or connected to.  Often times I wouldn't read the selections and would read the questions in the accompany workbook, find the answers and move on.  I also don't ever remember a teacher sharing their love of a book or reading.  I was never taught in school that reading could be enjoyable, connecting and engaging.  The message I received is that reading was a means to an end.  I was a product of a school as Donalyn describes, "the practices of many school reading programs diminish and disregard the development of personal reading habits" (p. 3).  Fortunately as an adult,  I found a love for books and started living a "reading life".  I can't imagine my life without books now!

As I write this, I'm inflight on my way home from a workshop.  I'm reminded of something someone said at the workshop about parents expecting education and today's classroom to look like it did when they were in school.  I think parents  also expect reading to look the same.  As a teacher I hope to engage students unlike I was in school as a reader.  I often WONDER if we all cultivated an environment that values and embraces the development of reading habits, what kind of students and learners we could have?  I think Donalyn's statement sums it up best, "I want my students to see reading as something they do-- not something remarkable or rare.  I want them to read because they enjoy it and feel comfortable in their reading personalities" (p. 3).

Donalyn spends time describing and talking about how you know you are a reader living a "reading life", and so I'll leave you with a short story that I was reminded of when reflecting on how I know I live a "reading life." One day my daughter and I were in the car, at a red light and I pulled out my book.  She said to me, "I bet lots of kids have to tell their parents not to text and drive, but not me!  I have to tell my mom not to read and drive!"

1 comment:

  1. Barbara,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about wild reading! My memories of school are much the same, and my wild reading kicked back in after about 5 years of teaching when I realized I needed to be reading more to share more! I, too, wonder if all teachers cultivated reading communities ... what a smart, empathetic, vocabulary-rich, deep conversation world we would live in! It's a mindset we have to pour into students and provide workshops for parents too. Parents are the first teachers ... if they are not setting an example of a reading life, we need to connect parents to the research. Lots to think about there.

    And the story about your daughter ... That is an AWESOME example of a wild reader! Love it!

    Thanks for jumping in the conversation!