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06 September 2015 @ 06:36 pm
The same but different  
I finished reading and grading the first assignment for the new fall semester for my YA literature courses. As I did 30 years ago, and as my professor did himself when he was a grad student, my students had to create their reading autobiographies. They could write a personal narrative, create a power point or timeline, or use any app or web site to address questions about how they came to be the readers they are today. It is an assignment I continue to assign even after 25+ years of teaching in the department of Library Science. I love taking a reading journey with each of my students as they take me from their childhood memories down the road to tween and teen life, on to adult and professional reading.

Though there are things that separate us as readers, there are so many things we have in common. Most of us can point to something a parent or sibling did to help us take those first steps on the road to lifelong reading. There are wonderful teachers who handed us the right boo at the right time. There are also negative experiences: assigned books with no choice, canned programs (SRA and AR are named mot often), lack of access to books, shortage of time to read, and more.

Overall, though, every single one of the reading autobiographies end with the student talking about how important their reflections are for their current classrooms. They talk about how the assignment made them think about the titles, authors, and people who made a difference. Even though students differ in gender, age, and so many other variables, they still all share their love and passion for books. This is, of course, comforting to me since these folks are in a program that educates school librarians. But they see from their reflections the importance of choice, access, response, and more. No lecture could ever make this happen. But reflection is powerful. And these future librarians will do much to bring a new generation of students to lifelong reading.
 
 
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