Advocate can function as a noun or a verb. An advocate is someone who stands up on behalf of another or a cause. To advocate is to support, to work for, to set as a goal. No matter how you use it or pronounce it, it is an important part of the development of lifelong readers.
Our kids need us to be advocates who advocate time for reading. Seems simple, right? But it is not in reality. So many teachers have been bullied into submission to testing curriculum, standards written by people outside of the profession (and more about that in a moment), and the demands of not only teaching subject matter but functioning as parent, counselor, nurse, and more.
It is the clarion call of those who are critical of my profession but who have spent little time in a classroom that are perhaps the most irritating of sounds I can imagine. They come from the business community and other professions, have not spent much if any time actually teaching, and have the temerity to draw up standards. I cannot imagine the medical profession allowing non-medical professionals to dictate how an operation should be performed. Imagine someone outside the legal community writing the questions for the state bar. And yet, somehow this is where we are right now. Then yesterday I saw a tweet from Secretary Duncan about the WNBA and how we could all learn lessons from them about teamwork. This was the proverbial straw that broke my heart (not my back; that is stronger sometimes).
I am an advocate who advocates for REAL books in the classroom, for certified librarians who can develop school library and public library collections, and for teachers who model a passion for reading (and writing). Right now, about 300 books are bagged and sitting in my front hall. I will be trucking them to San Angelo in a couple of weeks to give to teachers and librarians for their classrooms. And I am not alone. I have many colleagues who support ARCs Float On and donor.org who who donate books in any way they can. They will not get a feature story because they are playing in a celebrity bball game; they will not make headlines by decrying the sad state of education. And they will not be hailed as saviors of public education. But they are: their simple act of advocating for books makes them heroes in my book (pun intended).