I am a reader. I always have been and I probably always will be. Reading came easily to me in school and has followed me well into adulthood.
After reading this Slice of Life post from Katie on her blog The Logonauts, I was inspired today to sit down and really reflect on myself as a reader. Who am I? What makes me a reader?
Here are 10 facts about me as a reader:
- I’m never without a book. Ever. There’s a book in my purse, a book in my school bag, and a precariously-leaning stack on my nightstand. Every time I finish a novel, I pause for a moment to appreciate it and let it sink in, then immediately begin a new one. I don’t like to begin a day without already being immersed in a story I can’t wait to get back to.
- It took me too long to embrace reading children’s books again as I reached adulthood. Yes, I read books that I needed to use with my students, but not with the enthusiasm and appreciation these texts deserved. It wasn’t until I attended the ILA conference in 2016 and sat listening to Donalyn Miller speak about the incredible literature out there for kids and adolescents that I was brave enough to tackle stacks of picture books and middle grade novels and YA again. I haven’t looked back since.
- I believe books create connections. I often think about the shift toward ebooks, and while I think these texts have value, there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a stranger holding up a book you’ve read or are wanting to read. For shy book nerds like me, seeing a book I love in someone else’s hands is like an open invitation to go outside my comfort zone and strike up a conversation. And this connection doesn’t just have to be in person=-I have connected with so many amazing people over the past several months simply by developing my own reading blog with the purpose of participating in the weekly It’s Monday! What are you reading? challenge hosted by Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts.
- I have great admiration for the authors of the books I read. For awhile, my primary strategy for finding books was to find one I liked, then devour every other title by that same author until I ran out of books. As an adult reader, Jodi Picoult, Stephen King, and Kristin Hannah still cannot publish a book without it ending up on my shelves. Same with Katherine Applegate and Kate Dicamillo in the children’s literature world.
- I think sharing books is absolutely essential. For awhile, I was a book hoarder (as in, “my books are special and unless I’ve purchased them through Scholastic, please don’t touch them”). But I’ve come to realize that passing books on is the whole point. Just like travelling alone isn’t usually much fun, reading a book and never connecting with someone else who has read it is a lonely experience.
- I want my children to become readers just like me–and it’s going pretty well so far. They’re only 3 and 5, but any visits I make to the library without them have to be stealth operations or else I’m faced with looks of crushing disappointment on their little faces. We end every day snuggled up with a book, laughing and talking together. It is my absolute favorite part of the day.
- My favorite books are the ones that are unpredictable. When I reach the middle of a book and can’t put it down because I realize I have no idea how the story is going to end, I know it’s a book that is going to end up on my favorites list.
- I can’t fall asleep at night without reading. Even if I’m beyond exhausted, I have to spend a few minutes reading before turning out the light at night. Side effect: I have dozed off and smacked myself in the face with a book more times than I can count. It’s still worth it.
- I can read anywhere. I can read in waiting rooms, cars, pretty much anywhere I’m forced to sit for awhile. When I was a little girl, my grandma used to chase me outside during the summer to get some fresh air. I complied–but only if I could take my book with me and settle down on the swing with it for awhile.
- Even though I’d label myself a voracious reader, I know I can always improve. Nonfiction is not my “thing.” I prefer realistic fiction over anything else. I definitely have room to grow–and I will continue pushing myself to do so.
As I sit back and think through these revelations, I am reminded again of how important it is to take the time to get to know ourselves as readers and to allow our students to take the time to know themselves, too. It is essential to serve as reading role models to our students and our own children. Everyone has a reading identity. It’s simply just a matter of taking the time to find it.
I’m excited to join other writers every Tuesday and daily during the month of March in 2017 to participate in the Slice of Life writing challenge through Two Writing Teachers. Read all about how you can Write. Share. Give. on their website here.