professornana (professornana) wrote,

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We have spoken about community quite a bit in conference presentations and blog posts and articles. Those of us dedicated to creating lifelong readers point to the critical nature of creating a community within our classrooms, a place where we share books and reading and the thinking that comes from reading books. Community is important.

But there are many communities to which lifelong readers belong. My BH and I share a community of just two here at the hacienda now that the residents of the back bedroom have moved on to their own bedrooms in other locations. Our community is not unique, but it perhaps does provide some insight into the different attributes communities might have. For example, the BH and I do not share reading interests or tastes except in rare instances (a Dan Brown here and there and perhaps an occasional science fiction or fantasy work). In spite of this, we do have shared reading on a regular basis. How? As we sit comfortably in the same room (he on his Kindle and me in my ARCs and F&Gs), he will share a passage or opine on self-published books. He will comment on a clumsily drawn character or a sentence that needs to be read aloud to share its exquisite style or structure. I will comment on something I have learned through reading nonfiction and historical fiction for young readers: things I probably heard in a classroom at some time that just did not sink in. Those conversations begin with, "Did you know…?" and end with BH talking about the person or period and filling in information I might have missed (sometimes it is I who tells him something he did not know gleaned from the pages of a book for children). I will share illustrations, too. As a photographer, BH has an eye for design; he loves to see contemporary artists and their media and styles.

A community of 2 is small. But this is not my only communities. I belong to a vast array of communities. Some are small as when my friend Lois and I share our take on the latest book we are both reading. Some communities are vast as those on Facebook and Twitter. They are all equally important to me. I cannot imagine not having communities with which to share books and reading.

As I begin this new semester, I am thinking about communities. Since my children's and YA classes are online, the community building is different. However, there is still the need for a community to form, for the course to be a place where we can talk about books and reading despite the miles (and sometimes continents) that separate us.
Tags: community
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