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12 April 2016 @ 08:00 pm
Bit by bit  
Today was my first day at the office in a little over a week. I was greeted with the usual stack of boxes containing books. I know, what a cross to bear, right? Just kidding. I look forward to opening those boxes and diving in. I begin making stacks immediately. Some of the stacks are for picture books, board books, series books. Some are books that I have read already (usually online or in ARC form) and will move right onto the bookcase in the hall. Some books go into the bag I take home. Others move to a shelf to mock me until I get to them.

I lugged home about 7 books which I will try to fit in between now and TLA next week. But, at various points during the day, I read many of the picture books and board books and easy chapter books. Karin Perry and I even read picture books over lunch, swapping out titles as we finished them. The total read today was 25 books. Yes, they were short. Yes, they had lots of pictures in them. However, put that aside and think for a moment about the amount of reading this represents: 800 pages, more or less.

Now imagine how this total might seem to a kid in class who has had little interest in reading. Imagine what would happen if I shared 5 picture books aloud during a week (and that is totally possible given that it might take about 10 minutes to read). That is 160 pages. Imagine how that might feel to someone who does not think such a thing is possible. Imagine how you are adding to the total number of books these kids are able to read in a week.

But even more is how it makes me feel to add 25 more books to my list of books read this month. It reenergizes me. I have read about 300 books so far this year. I feel a sense of accomplishment. Mind you, I do not set goals. Instead, I try to simply read as much as I can when I can. Tomorrow I will spend about 5 hours commuting to and from a meeting. I will complete one audiobook (only have a short piece left) and make my way well into another. Even on a day when reading in the traditional sense will not work for me, I am reading.

If we think about reading and all the ways we can help kids read more, read more widely, and read more wisely, I think we can help kids develop the habit of reading. This is not a panacea, not a cure-all. But it is a start. Bit by bit we can share more and more books with readers. Bit by bit we can develop our own habits of reading. Bit by bit we can support and encourage lifelong readers and lifetime learners.
 
 
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