Gem #1: "I think the biggest thing with reading is finding what you like. It may take time, but finding it will bring much happiness and sometimes rip your heart out of your chest (The Fault in Our Stars is also a fantastic read)." It takes TIME sometimes to find what we like to read, to search it out. when we do, it brings happiness and can also make you cry. The latter is the importance of personal or emotive response to text. While it is not the only way we can (or maybe even should) respond, I do think it is at the foundation of all else we do if our goal is to support lifelong readers. I have mentioned it before, but it bears repeating, there are books that move me at the gut level every single time I read them: BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, A TASTE OF BLACKBERRIES, BEAUTY QUEENS, THE MONSTRUMOLOGIST. This list goes on and on.
And herein lies one of my concerns with CCSS: the lack of time, the impetus to keep moving forward. HARDER. DEEPER. MORE COMPLEX. I like pausing. I am a fan of looking back. I love visiting the same place over and over. And I love reading easy, a term I first heard from Kylene Beers. I can admire the NBA winner as well as the latest installment of Geronimo Stilton because I already am thinking about the potential audience for each of them.
Gem #2: "All reading can do is relax you, improve your vocabulary and immerse you into worlds you've never seen before, broadening your mind and teaching you new lessons." Is that ALL? ;-)
YES, there are places in this posting that rail against teachers for shoving literature down the throats of students. Obviously this young man has had some teachers who did not care much for meeting his needs with reading recommendations. That is sad. I know the other teachers well: those who search for the right book for the right reader at the right time, hoping to make a match (yes that is BSP of my first book). Those teachers, the ones with classrooms filled with books, those who take kids to the library, those who read aloud, those who book talk and, most importantly, those who READ are out there as well. During Teacher Appreciation Week, reach out and thank them. If you are able, gift them with a card to a bookstore. Show them that you appreciate all they are doing so that, like Garrett, they understand that "READING IS ACTUALLY A PRETTY GOOD THING."