Creating Readers

If you know me, or have read some of my earlier posts- then you've come to know that I was not a reader until recently. Reading was a chore for me.

So what changed? Two amazing books helped me make sense of my reading angst: Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer and Kelly Gallagher's Readicide. It was as if a lightbulb came on for me- I never knew what it was to read "just because"- or a free choice of what to read. So I undertook the 40 book challenge for myself and a large group of children (like 120).  

Slowly, it happened. I became a reader! I became hooked by Roland Smith's I, Q series, which my son recommended to me. At the time, he was 12. He knew what I liked to watch on TV and said, "Mom- it's a good fit for you." And he was so right. The series became an addiction for us. I read book 2 in a day and a half.  That may not be a feat for you, but as a non-reader, I felt this was huge!

Quickly, the anticipation built- when would the next book come out? I passed the book series on to several of my students- their parents, my kids friends- and guess what? They all loved it too! 2 years later- I'm still a book pusher. I handed the first of this series to a parent at my school late last week. She laughed and said, "You know I'm not a reader, right?" I asked her to humor me and try it. 

At the end of the day today I saw her in carpool- asked her how it was going. "You know, the strangest thing happened. I read 50 pages before I knew it. Then, last night I was upstairs and went downstairs to get it because I wanted to see what was going to happen next."  She went on to tell me that she is going to do the book challenge with her fourth grade daughter.  That was a win for me today. 

Be encouraged. Conversations matter. Whether they are with teachers, students, or parents- they matter. Book talking isn't limited to helping kids. Book talking is more than matching a teacher with a good book for a lesson. Book talking can infect and infuse someone's life- to help them become a reader, and discover that it's ok to read "just because."

Thank you, Donalyn, Kelly, and Roland. Your books have left me forever changed! 


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