The Care and Feeding of a Reader: A Recipe
Make materials accessible to kids. Stir kids and books together (book pass, read aloud, trailers, Animoto, etc). Let sit (give them time to read).
Nah, the cooking analogy does not really work here. Here is what it means to me to nourish a reader. We have to begin with where that kid is. What are her tastes? Let's face it, if we have a kid who will reject green veggies, we have to find a whay to make them more appealing, right? Or offer fruit instead? So, this is the starting point. Accept the existing tastes. Taste it ourselves. This is why so many of us read children's and YA books (and for me it means reading very little adult stuff). Once kids have figured out that we are familiar with the books they already like, they are more willing to venture out of their comfort zone (and speaking of comfort zones, we need to read outside of our own, too).
Then, we feed the reader the books. We begin with books they already know or like and then gradually introduce new things (just like we do with babies when we add new foods gradually). We do that through booktalks and trailers and Power Point loops and whatever else is in our toolkit. Every once in a while we can have a junk food binge; sometimes we have more balanced meals. All the while, we have to permit tastes to dictate to some extent. Why force liver and onions on someone who might taste avocado? Take the small steps.
Finally, we need to be models of nutrition ourselves. This is the reading outside of comfort zone thing coming back again. I now love reading nonfiction, but at first I always gravitated toward fiction time after time. Some nonfiction whet my appetite and I suddenly found myself reading more of it. Now I try to read as widely as I can though, of course, I still have my favorites, my comfort foods.
And now it is time for a snack, I think. Maybe some audio. I love grazing among the choices.