Donalyn Miller and I are working on a book about reading and reader identity. Our discussions in person and online have raised some interesting questions. About 6 months ago, we had a conversations via messaging on our #fancyphones about identity and engagement. We talked about how we come to identify ourselves as readers (and writers, too) and wondered why everyone does not reach this same identity.
We know quite a bit about how readers come to reading. We know there are certain experiences likely to produce readers: reading aloud, choice, having an adult show interest in reading, models of reading, access to books, etc. But does everyone who shares these experiences develop into a lifelong reader? And do those who might miss out on some or all of these experiences come to identify as a reader? If so, how does that happen?
As you can see, these are some big questions. We continue to wrestle with them trying to piece together the roles of identity and engagement in this whole process. Sometimes I feel as though my admission of being a reader is part of a 12 step program: Hi, my name is Teri, and I am a reader. Admitting you are a reader may be step #1.