Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Goal: Letting the Love of Reading Shine Through

One of my original 6 ways to teach like an artist was to notice what you love and love it out loud. The point was not to necessarily try to make the students love the same things, but to let them know the joy of really throwing yourself into a passion.

I know, for example, that I talked about my love for music a lot. Students knew I played various instruments, always wanted a band and that I played in the worship team in my church. A common love for music was a great conversation starter with many of them over the years. I also used it for many examples when it came to following dreams and keeping a creative hobby alive on the side.

But I was thinking recently about how much I love reading, yet I never got as passionate about that when teaching. I'm not sure why.

I used to work with high school students when I taught in the classroom. I remember talking about books I read. I'm mostly into non-fiction. I'd use them as examples many times, especially in the class where I taught about setting life goals and career planning.

Still, I don't recall a single time I expressed my enjoyment of being lost in a book, finding a common bond with a writer or being grateful to hear the author put thoughts into words in ways I couldn't.

I now work with many teachers in all grade levels. It is very common to hear a female teacher in elementary grades rave to her class about a fun book they just finished. Just looking back through my experiences, I can't recall a time I heard male teachers do the same. And I remember hearing very little from any high school teachers about loving to read. Only our library is clearly into reading.

The same teachers are passionate about their favorite sports teams, hunting, cooking or their families. I wonder why we have not been as passionate about the joy of reading. I wonder what a difference it would make if we would start.

Some ways I could start:

  • Carry a book.
  • Get caught reading.
  • When I'm showing examples on my iPad, refer to my Kindle app and library.
  • Suggest a good book to students. (That's not going to work so well for me in elementary grades unless I extend my tastes! Are the Narnia books still popular? I remember loving those as a kid.)
  • Bring up reading to more teachers. Maybe with some shared interests we could start a book club.

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