Thursday, July 24, 2014

Staying Motivated To Be a Reader

As readers we often come across obstacles that cut down our reading motivation.  Crunched for time, poor recommendations, lack of books... all of these crush our motivation.  I know when I was recommended Gone Girl, I was extremely disappointed.  While it rushed to the top of every chart, I was just unable to connect and love it.  Readers face these challenges.  Sometimes we allow them to set us back and not move forward right away.  Other times they drive us as readers and push us forward in our stack of "to-be read" books.  When we move forward, even after a disappointing read, we know we are really readers; not afraid of a setback!

But is this behavior in our nature?  Or is it learned from our family, teachers, and friends?  Most likely, it's a nurtured behavior, right?  One shaped by years of being surrounded by parents who read, teachers who read, and friends who read.   In chapter 4 of Reading in the Wild, Donalyn Miller addresses the need of being a reader who plans.

Now, don't freak out.  This doesn't mean we have to be regimented readers with every book strictly planned out with a goal completion date.  But it does mean that as teachers we need to model and use a "to-be read" book list.  And it does mean that we need to think ahead sometimes.  Like before a vacation.  If you're going to the beach for a week, do you only pack one book?  If you're not going to be in your classroom all summer, do you leave all your books in your classroom?  Of course not!  As readers, we need to teach our students to plan ahead; to think about what's next. I've never thought about modeling this behavior.  Sure, I've let students borrow books for winter break, but have we ever reflected on this?  No ma'am.  Miller states that we need to be planning ahead, lending out books for long breaks {such as Winter break} and thinking through these book choices.  Is it a series?  Do we need not just one book, but two or three in the series?  What times will I be able to read?  Is there a car trip involved?  Can I read in the car {or do I get carsick}?  Writing about these plans in reader's notebooks also helps hold them accountable and makes them think about themselves as readers.

And Miller doesn't stop there!!  Upon returning from these extended breaks, Miller and her students reflect on their reading.  How much did they read?  What did they like?  What didn't they like?  By reflecting on these bits of reading time, students are able to process more of their reading life.  Doing these things help them learn about their book choices too, really supporting students as they learn to live the life of a reader. I really had an "ah-ha!" moment here.  Donalyn takes things we're all doing and shows us how to utilize them as teachable moments.  I know that this coming year I will really strive to model and discuss more of our reading lives with the goal of shaping readers who enjoy reading and understand themselves as readers.  How do you plan to do this? 

I don't know about you, but my "to-be read" book list hasn't gotten much shorter this Summer- but not because I haven't been reading!  Thanks to conferences, blogs, Instagram, and Facebook, my never ending list has continued to grow- keeping me busy and happy as a reader :)  How do you spend your reading time?  What's on your "to-be read" list?

1 comment:

  1. I'm the same... I've never really thought about modeling the behavior of planning what I will read NEXT! My reading list included "Belle Teal" and "Inside Out and Back Again" (both packed for the roadtrip we are making today! I also want to try some books by E. Hildebrand and Susan Wiggs!