In an era of standardized tests, so many more children are seeing reading as simply a reason to get a grade instead of seeing a book and saying oh I loved that book or I want to read that book. We have more children that are not reading for enjoyment or reading on a regular basis. They only read when they need to. I knew those type of people in high school. For example I had a friend in high school that was a slow reader (this is okay) and we were reading The Book Thief, so while I could read 15 in an half an hour she may only read 10. Since we were assigned to read around 100 pages a week she found it difficult to finish the reading assignments in time. She ended up only reading around 150 pages of this wonderful book.
When reading is hard or difficult students are less like to be motivated to read or want to read. I'm going to have students in my class that can't read enough, but I'm also going to have those students that when I tell them to take out a book they are going to sigh and not do it with excitement, but only because they have to. How did you fall in love with reading and how do you get students to love reading?
I think for me 2nd grade was when I fell in love with reading. I did not have a good kindergarten teacher and I did not learn to read in Kindergarten. I had a lazy eye, so I wore a patch over my right eye as a kid. I could not see well, but I was a very stubborn girl and would not tell my parents or the teachers that I struggled to see. My 1st grade teacher realized that I was struggling and needed extra help, so she sent me to title. I loved title. That is the teacher that finally taught me to read and she made reading fun and exciting. I grew up in the age where Leap Frog was brand new and those books were my favorite to play with. By 2nd grade I was a fluent reader and I loved to read. By 2nd grade when the teacher told us we could read when we finished an assignment I was quick to finish the assignment, so I could read. I finished every book in her classroom library and relied heavily on the library that year.
3rd grade for me was a pivotal year for my reading journey. The teacher read aloud to us every day. I particularly remember when she read us Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was enchanted by this book and I loved every second of this book. Myself and many of my classmates read this book after she finished it. I then picked up the rest of the series. It then became a 9 year journey to finish every single book in the Laura Ingalls Wilder series and the spin off series about her daughter Rose, great grandmother Martha, grandmother Charlotte, and mother Caroline. As I entered middle school I was that girl that you never saw without a book. I was that girl reading books during class when the teacher was talking. I was that girl reading books while we were supposed to be watching some boring documentary. I was just always reading.
I think my teachers were a big part of why I grew up to love reading. I also didn't have a lot of friends in Elementary and I did get picked on for having to wear a patch, and having glasses. Reading was something I could do and do well. I could escape for life and fall into the world of my characters. By the time I reached high school reading was a thing I just didn't know how to do without and even not in college I almost always have a book in my backpack just in case I have a spare moment. This love that I have for reading I want to pass it on to my students. I want my students to be able to discover this world of books and characters. I want my students to be able to talk about the books they are reading and become lifelong readers and learners.
I find it sad that so many adults never read another book after they get out of high school or college. We talked about a study today in class about preservice teacher and they concluded that over 60% of preservice teachers are unenthusiastic readers meaning they only read for assignments. SPED majors are more likely to be unenthusiastic readers. Neither of these are true for me and I have two friends that love to read, but don't make time for it. They read books for enjoyment occasionally, but when they are busy it is something they don't need. Everybody told me when I go to college I wouldn't have time to read, so I wouldn't read. These are people that don't understand how much I love to read. It has slowed down in college. Sometimes I only read around 10 pages a day before I go to bed, but I try to make time to read every single day. I think my passion for reading is something that I hope will rub off on my students and I can teach them how to be good readers, how to choose books they want to read, and how to love reading.