I am an ambivalent reader. I always have been. As a child I learned to read with little difficulty and have some fond memories of childhood books, but I failed to ever reflect on and expand my reading life. Even as an adult, I admire friends who easily engaged in multiple books at a time and gush with tales from their journeys. I start many books and finish some.
This never existed as a problem until I decided to develop true reading and writing identities in my students. Not to just teach the skills, but how to be a reader and be a writer. My first role model of a true book lover and literacy coach seeps this kind of book-love I want. Tara Ronzetti probably doesn’t even know it, but she models having a reading life to kids because she has a reading life herself. I want that. My students need that.
So here’s what I’ve done so far. The Book Whisper, Donalyn Miller, recommended a strategy to engage adolescent readers, and I made myself a book stack.
I haven’t read all the texts and maybe I won’t. But I have a place to turn to once I finish one book and a place to add new titles. I’m also expanding my genres, to include young adult fiction (easy and enlightening) and research articles (pretty challenging) and rereading favorites.
But it’s not enough for a teacher to have a reading life to teach book-loving to her kids. What about writing?
I never met, in person, the most influential teacher of my life. Dr. Brian Kissel teaches distance learning courses for the M.Ed. Reading program at UNC Charlotte. Two lessons he taught changed my view of teaching. Not only do I need a reading life, but a writing life too. And writers need an audience. Dr. Kissel showed me how write beyond my comfort zone. As a result, I published my first ever piece on the ILA Daily Literacy Blog.
I did feel famous, for about 10 minutes.
Which brings me to this blog. A place to begin my writing journey and part of my reading journey, too. But mostly to document my process as I build a community of students who see themselves as readers and writers. You are my audience and I hope you come back often to engage in my journey.