I just finished reading The Library Girl’s post about reading champions and she truly hit the nail on the head. (No suprise, right?)
I am so guilty of pushing aside the joy of reading as I attempt to make my position seem valuable to those in the business office. I vowed to change that this past spring when one of my second graders looked at me sadly and asked, “Are you ever going to just read us a story again?” With so much time and attention spent on skills, especially technology; reading to the children has largely fallen by the wayside. It wasn’t always like this, though. In my early years I read to my students a lot. One of my favorite read-alouds was Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli. I read it to my third graders at the end of every year for several years in a row. They loved it and so did I.
Then the trauma of a layoff several years ago made me fear being viewed as a someone only read stories. And heaven forbid anyone walk into the library and catch me, gasp, reading a book to myself!
Now, I will grant that part of my experience is colored by that layoff years ago, but my colleagues in the classroom feel the same pressure. No one wants to be seen reading, and especially not reading for pleasure. School is for serious teaching and learning. If you have time for pleasure reading, then you’re not obviously doing something right. Admit it. Most of us would see a colleague reading People magazine in the teacher’s room and get a little jugdey about their use of time.
So why are we so surprised that our kids don’t read for pleasure?! They are surrounded by the subconscious message that reading for fun is not only uncool, but frowned upon.
So, while I had already vowed to make more of a point of reading to my students this coming year, The Library Girl has strengthened my resolve. I think I might start the year by reading Fourth Grade Rats to my fourth grade classes. I can’t wait to reconnect with Suds and Joey.
How much time do you spend reading aloud to your students just for the fun of the story?