professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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Listening In, Tuning In, Butting In

It is always a good day when Paul Hankins posts something on his blog. Go and check out his post: http://paulwhankins.edublogs.org/2013/02/17/reading-rants-get-those-readers-out-of-the-box/. I admit that I was eavesdropping on the conversation he and Donalyn Miller were having on Twitter about programs and boxes and levels and lexiles and all of the other inhuman things that have made reading cringe-worthy. Here is another post about that cringe-inducing, too, this one from Katherine Sokolowski: http://readwriteandreflect.blogspot.com/2013/02/investing-in-reading.html.

But let me get back to the article I was commenting on a couple of days ago. The Importance of Reading for Pleasure (http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6318818) offers some sage advice. We have seen that advice before, countless times, but it bears repeating. So, here is today's advice.

Children have the right to be taught by those who have a knowledge of books

I think this circles back to the posts by Paul and Katherine. And it hearkens back to the posts about the UNprogram of a few weeks ago. There is no magic bullet. There are only teachers, teachers who read, teachers who read widely, teachers who share their reading with their students, teachers who talk to other teachers about books they are reading, teachers who cough up exhorbitant fees to attend conferences where they learn even more about books, teachers who constantly are purchasing books to add to classroom libraries, teachers whose very lives are endangered by the avalanche of their TBR stacks. Yes, you, I'm looking at you. I am also looking at teacher-librarians lest we forget that there are others who also love and support books and reading.

How could I possibly know that a lexile or level or some other scientific formula will place a book in the hands of the wrong reader? How could I know that there are books written after the end of the 18th, 19th, and even 20th century that are worthy of being deemed canonical? How could I understand the complexity of selecting that just right book? How might I model for my students? If I were not a reader, I do not think I could do any of these things.

More importantly, my life would not be as rich as it is. I would never have known what it is like to live in other places and times (some real and some imagined). I would not possess the vocabulary I do. I would not be as adept at context clues and other "skills" that help me make meaning. More importantly, I would not be as empathetic. Books and reading do that for me. And that's not all. Books allow me to connect with other readers, readers who are older and younger, make and female, avid and reluctant, rich and poor: a veritable buffet of readers from across the country and around the world.

Think of all you have done to help just one kid find a good book. Reflect on that today as you grab that next book off the TBR pile. Keep that kid in your mind and in your heart. Let that carry you through the week to come.
Tags: books, eavesdropping, librarians, posts, reading, teachers
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