Published on Mommy Hot Spot May 2014
As a teacher of literature, it is sometimes really really hard for us to understand why kids don't want to read. I love books. Reading is such a wonderful way to grow and learn. My mother sparked my love of reading. I remember seeing her at night totally engrossed in a novel, and always wondered what could hold her so captivated. At some point in elementary I remember staying in from recess because I was so engrossed in the Little House on the Prairie books. I was of course seen as kind of nerd because I wanted to read and write all the time as a little kid. I wrote books when I was ten because I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have learned so much about history, about love, about family, about friendships, about sacrifice, about life from reading countless books.
But as English teachers we are often fighting a never ending battle to share our love of reading. Most times they fight us every step of the way on reading, but you'd be surprised at the enlightment and excitement a group of adolescents show when you start reading out loud to them The Crucible, Night, Of Mice and Men, Shakespeare, or Charles Dickens. They start off fighting us but are then ready for us to read to them everyday to get that anticipated climax or ending. They still don't want to read it themselves but the quietest I ever get my rambunctious classes are when I read to them. They are little children again on the edge of their seat, quietly listening to the story unfold. I am often left asking myself, "have they ever been read to?" "Who told them reading is not fun?" "Why do they not see reading as being so vitally important to learning?"
One of the biggest areas of struggle for students on standardized tests is reading comprehension. They can read the words but they don't know how to read. They don't know to read between the lines, how to infer the deeper meanings of the text, how to interact and learn from the message being taught in the reading. There is so much to be gained from reading. And it starts from the moment you set them in your lap at bedtime and read to them. You as their parent bring reading and the endless amounts of learning that can be gained from it to life every night when you read to them or read with them as they get older and start to read. Build a love for books with your child, it is one of the greatest parenting gifts you can give them.