As a teacher, especially an English teacher, I am often faced with the sounds of moans and groans whenever we read… especially if the reading is for homework or in any way on their own. It’s a thing that has been particularly bothersome to me.
And now they (the mysterious they) have made me a Reading teacher as well. But instead of teaching kids how to love reading, I feel like I’m just testing them and making reading even more unpleasant for them than it already was.
It made me think… like really dig down deep and think, how do we get students to like reading?
It’s a question that I think is particularly important, given that I decided long ago that what I really want to be when I “grow up” is an author. That’s why I push myself to do things like NaNoWriMo (though I don’t always “win” NaNo, I always try), or why I host the Sunday #JustAddTea chat on Twitter, or why I keep writing on this blog.
I’m always striving for that goal somehow.
But, as a teacher (side note: please don’t judge my grammar on here… here is a place for me to be more real, which sometimes precludes proper grammar), I also want to see my students be successful, which means they have to read. If they don’t like it, they won’t do it, and if they don’t do it, they can’t be successful.
So, while I’m sitting here waiting for my students to finish another standardized test, I started thinking about how do people interact with their books?
How do people who enjoy reading actually, y’know, read?
I know that in order for me to enjoy a book, it has to have some mystery to it. There has to be something that I need to figure out. Luckily for me, I’ve decided that all stories have something to figure out…
To me, that is what makes reading so interesting. It’s about figuring out how the story relates to my life. That question I asked on Monday, it is important to me to figure out what that big question is in every story.
I don’t think, however, that most people read that way.
There are people who like to get so immersed in a story that they have to read the whole series. They need that option to disappear into a fictional world or realm for more than one book. I can understand the appeal of that.
There are people who can only read non-fiction. They like to learn, and who can fault them for that? It isn’t what I’d call entertainment, though.
There are even those who legitimately read to do something mindless, which to me is the antithesis of fun, but then again, that is kind of the point of this post: Everyone is a little bit different.
Like I said, I know I read differently than most. I am that person who looks for the underlying meaning of things. Maybe because it doesn’t come naturally when dealing with people, I try to understand the symbolism of stories. Somehow, with words, it is easier.
There are a dozen more ways to enjoy reading, I’m sure. Right now, it’s just something I’m pondering.
If you would, please let me know what type of reader you are so I can try to determine how to get my students more engaged. What types of books do you read? And what makes them fun for you?