I think I long ago established that I think it’s important to read. And I do. Books have been, are, and will continue to be an important part of my life. Not only do I think it’s important to read, but I genuinely love to read. I love immersing myself in stories and meeting new characters and going on new journeys and adventures. My parents, especially my mom, have fostered a love of reading in me, and over the years it has completely bloomed and blossomed.
With my love of reading pronounced, it might be easy to assume that I like to read everything and anything. That’s not true. I do try to be open about reading new things. I think as a young teacher it’s important to read often and to read a wide variety of texts. I won’t always get to handpick the texts I teach, and I also want to be able to talk with my students about what they’re reading, even if it isn’t necessarily something I would have chosen for myself. At the same time there are things I love to read and things I have very little interest in reading. I love young adult literature and children’s books and fairy tales. I have very little interest in most non-fiction.
I think it’s really important to know what you like to read. I had to read texts in school that I had very little genuine interest in reading. Not every text is interesting to every reader. That’s just not the way the world works. And if those texts were all I’d ever taken the time to read, I probably wouldn’t love reading as much as I do.
In my mind, a love of reading comes from having choices. It’s great to be able to grow up in a house full of books with parents who love and encourage reading. But even if that’s not the situation of your students, you can still do your part to foster a love of reading with your students. Build an expansive class library if you can. Take your students to the library at school or arrange a field trip to a local library. Let students explore books and find what they love and what they’re interested in. Talk with them about books, and have honest conversations about them. Let them know it’s OK to not like something, but they need to be able to explain why. Work to help your students find books that make their hearts sing, whatever those books may be.