professornana (professornana) wrote,

My life as a reader

During #titletalk tonight someone asked me about the reference to the reading autobiography. It is something I have been doing with students for more than 25 years. Additionally, it is something I did as part of my own classwork with Dick Abrahamson. Dick himself did the same thing when he took classes with G. Robert Carlsen. Carlsen and his former student, Ann Sherrill, wrote about this seemingly simple piece of writing in VOICES OF READERS: HOW WE COME TO LOVE BOOKS. It was published by NCTE in 1988. Sadly, it is out of print, but there is a PDF available here:

Here is the basic idea of the reading autobiography: write about your life as a reader (or non-reader). Talk about the books, people, memories, etc. that have been a part of your life from childhood though adulthood. The reading autobiography can be a personal essay; however, there are various ways to share a reading autobiography. Student have recorded videos, use power points, press, padlets, timelines. and many other ways to share their stories about books and reading.

Over the past 25 years of reading the reading autobiographies of my students has provided me with so many insights into their lives. And they have also underscored the same observations of Carlsen and Sherrill that there are some common experiences that help form us as readers. You can see some of these on the charts on pp. 152 and 153. I will write more about these tomorrow perhaps.
Tags: carlsen, reading autobiography, sherrill
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