Friday, February 26, 2010

Getting Caught Reading...

One of our teachers at Somers Elementary School encouraged fellow colleagues to "get caught reading..." as part of our Read Across America celebration. My fondest memories of reading as a child were the hours I spent snuggling beside my mom on the couch. My poor mother did everything she could, being the passionate reader and librarian of 35 years, to encourage me to stay focused on a book. I, however, would not be tempted until the joy and fruits of her labor finally hit me decades later. Looking back, I'm sure my teachers told her that I was a struggling reader...a child who was just as content to be running around outside with my friends after school...then sitting with a book. Now, as a fourth grade teacher, the tables have turned. The question and challenge continues; "How do we encourage and foster an interest in reading for young adults?" After working with 8-12 year olds for the past several years, I believe it all starts with enthusiasm. I believe we need to share our love for the written word with sincere, and heartfelt passion. Share passages from your favorite books, and talk about them as if they are characters that live in your neighborhood. Your enthusiasm will be contagious and your seeds will, like my mom's, someday bear fruit.
What am I reading now? A few children's books that are beautifully illustrated, JANUARY'S SPARROW, by Patricia Palacco...14 COWS FOR AMERICA, by Cameren Agra Deedy, Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez. Also a few that I've managed to dip in an out of each evening; MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE, by Norm Abram, A LONG WAY GONE, by Ishmael Beah, THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES, by Sue Monk Kidd, and TRUE COMPASS, a memoir by Edward Kennedy, and finally Nathaniel Philbrick's MAYFLOWER.