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.
But, 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.
I 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.