Monday, March 14, 2016

Confessions of a Reading Teacher

Confession. I don’t like to read. “What?” you say. “You’re a Reading Specialist. How could this be?” I did not like reading when I was a child and it is very rare that I find a fiction novel that grabs me.  I have and continue to read many books related to my profession. The authors include Richard Allington, Jennifer Serravallo, Regie Routman, Gail Boushey & Joan Moser, Stephanie Harvey & Anne Goudvis. I’ve read books on teaching comprehension, teaching reading strategies and reading research. I follow blogs and tweets by leaders in the reading field such as Kylene Beers, Mary Howard and Linda Hoyt, to name a few., when I had to read 4 novels and 40 picture books for a children’s literature grad class I was taking, I struggled. The picture books were fun, but the novels were not. I chose two novels that I had listened to on audiotape. It made it easier for me to get through the text because I had a sense of where the story was going. I chose Magnas Chase by Rick Riordan because my daughter had read it and I could lean on her to have conversations as I read the story to strengthen my understanding. The final novel I chose was Alice in Wonderland because we owned a copy and I didn’t have to mess with renewing it through the library. I purchased the audio version of Alice in Wonderland to help make the reading go faster. As I listened, I found my mind wondering to other things. I postponed reading the book as long as possible because I did not find it to be an interesting read. I decided to watch the Disney version of the book to gain some background knowledge. I also found short chapter summaries on Wikipedia. These two activities helped me visualize the events I was reading about and helped me predict what was coming up in the story. It was easier to get through the text. am envious of my friends who spend the weekend “lost in a good book”. As a child, I struggled to read. I saw reading as a chore, not as something fun. I always had books that were too hard as I was sounding out everything. I was/am a slow reader. As an adult, I need time to talk about what I am reading. I need to be able to visualize and make connections with what I am reading. I need to have texts that are predictable. I am fond of nonfiction text. They “grab” me. The text gets right to the point. They are predictable and usually have pictures that make visualizing easier. I don’t like to read, but I’m a reader.

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