professornana (professornana) wrote,

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out of the mouths of babes

College Girl is home for the long weekend. Anyone who has a college age student knows that they are "learning" all manner of things, not all of them in their classes. I have been regaled with much of this new-found knowledge weekly since we try to have lunch when I am up at the office. Basically, she is the smart one in the relationship and the BH and I try hard not to roll our eyes as we know this phase well. This morning on the way to the grocery store, she was commenting on the kids she knows in her classes who have come through high schools were the teaching was all directed toward the state tests. Please note that much of her education in high school centered on this as well, so I think she speaks from some experience here. She did make an observation that was thrilling, though. She asked if we could guess the difference between her school experience and the experiences of most of her classmates. The answer: she was a reader before she hit high school and continued to be a reader through high school. She read because she wanted to and not just the material she had to cover for tests, classes, projects, etc. She was surrounded by books and by BH and me and other adults who loved books and reading and who would gladly read aloud to her, take her to the library, let her read past bedtime, and bought her books. She credits this with her being able to read her college texts with more comprehension. So, she told me, patting me on the back, "you just keep doing that you do, girl, because it works."

Is this not what we live for? A confirmation that something we have done was right and good and helpful? That should carry me through the long weekend (and beyond). But I tell this not to be self-congratulatory (OK, maybe a little of that) but because Natalie was talking about what my friend Donalyn Miller is discussing in her new book, READING IN THE WILD. While her school experience did not mirror what readers out in the real world do, her home experience did: choice, time, passion, materials, etc. This forthcoming book is SO important because kids whose behavior is the same as those of "wild" readers in their natural environment, are the ones who will survive the literary canon, the assault of narrowed curriculum, and still go on to be lifelong readers. I am proof and so is College Girl. Two down, millions left to go. For those of you who encourage wild reading, thanks for all you do.
Tags: reading in the wild
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