Here is a screen shot of the definition of virtue. Basically, I am using virtue as a commendable or beneficial quality in this next series of posts about the virtues of reading. There is nothing groundbreaking here, IMHO. I just think that even I need to remind myself from time to time WHY I read and why I NEED to read. So, I began to think about what I considered the most commendable or beneficial quality of reading. And I kept coming back to a lecture given by Dick Abrahamson at the outset of his class in children's literature many years ago. When I taught FTF, I always began my children's lit class in the same manner. Before I began talking about criteria and genre and forms and formats, I started with the same question Dick did: why do we share books with kids? So, over the space of the next few posts, I will share that list of 7 virtues of books for children, teens, tweens, and the young at heart (like me). The list of virtues could be endless, I suspect, but I will do my best to focus on 7 virtues.
And I begin with this virtue: reading is FUN! Before all of the other virtues, we need to own up to this. Lifelong readers know this to be true. We read not because we have to read but because we want to read. Falling into a book causes changes in me. As I read, my breathing, heart rate, blood pressure all fluctuate depending on what I am reading. My emotions change as well. I laugh, cry, sigh. I emerge from the book refreshed and renewed and looking forward to the next one and the next one and the next one.
Think about sharing books with infants and toddlers and the delight that ensues. That delight should continue past toddler stage. I can still recall the quiet settling over 8th graders as I read aloud each day after lunch. And the quiet was there when it was time for independent reading every day. Kids brought me books to read so we could talk about them. We discussed how an author could make us sad or happy or angry. I do not think most of my students saw it as "work." It was reading. It was fun.
Are we doing all we can to spread the virtue of FUN?