About three years ago at New Years my husband decided he wasn’t happy with his reading life. He’s an avid reader but felt like he wasn’t reading enough. So he set a goal to read 52 books in one year. To some, that may be simple. But to him, a reader of mega non-fiction books and thick fiction chapter books, this was somewhat of a lofty goal. Since that year, he has yet to reach his goal. But he keeps a reading log and pushes on. This doesn’t discourage him or frustrate him. It motivates him. And he keeps on reading, starting over each year… thus is the life of a reader.
Chapter 1 of Reading in the Wild has really opened my eyes to things that were right in front of me. Coming from a reading family, I thought it was the “norm” to read while waiting for things like the doctor or to keep a reading log of what you’ve read. Miller shows us in Chapter 1, however, that this is not the case. Thinking like this must be taught and practiced. Just this morning I was waiting at the doctor’s office and was delighted that I had a few moments to read my book. Now our students must start thinking the same.
I adore how chapter 1 is focused around the importance of not just modeling reading or teaching reading strategies, but the importance of modeling loving reading. Miller provides a “pedagogical base for her approach to teaching reading” (introduction by Teri S. Lesesne). Miller wants her students to not only love reading, but she also wants “them to understand why reading matters to their lives” (intro), creating readers who have an understanding of reading that isn’t solely focused on how to answer test questions or write a book report.
What shocked me the most (and I guess I had known all along *doh*) was that part of being a good reader is very simple- choosing books. Years ago my parents got me a Kindle for my birthday. I had always considered myself a reader, but all of a sudden I had complete access to books all the time. I could finish a book at the eye doctor, find a new one on my Kindle, and have it downloaded within three minutes (true story). Suddenly, I was a different reader. I was devouring books like I never had before. And I was 25. Imagine if I had had this type of access and knowledge when I was a student. Miller stresses the importance of being able to recommend and find the right book for readers. This means, we as teachers, must be equally knowledgeable about them- capable of discussing and sharing moments as professional readers. By doing this, we show our students that readers not only read, but they know where they can capture moments to read and what type of books will hold their interest.