What is Reading? As I'm preparing for the Summer Reading program and making book lists for next year, I've been thinking a lot about this question.
At first it seems simple.. Reading is decoding. Deciphering letters that make up words that create sentences and then live in paragraphs. But, it's really much more than that.
My neighbor is going into first grade. I always ask him what he's reading. He tells me he doesn't like to read. Cue the gut-wrenching disappointment. So, instead of lecturing him on the importance of reading (he knows it's important), I ask him some questions What do you like to do? What are your favorite things? What is the best book you read/heard this year? And he answers, with so many things that my head spins.
My next step is to then conenct books to what he likes. He likes planets and rocket ships. I ask if he's read the Earth, Sun, and Moon books by Stacy McAnulty. He likes sports and paying outside. I ask if he's read Whoosh! bu Chris Barton. He likes dogs. I ask if he's read Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan or King and Kayla by Dori Hillestad Butler He actually gets a little excited when I tell him about the books. Side note: my mission is now to find him the "perfect" book.
Back to "what is reading"? Reading is more than decoding letters and words for meaning only. Reading is a connection of the reader to the written word. Reading can be about gaining new insight and knowledge and also about bringing past experiences to the text. Reading is interactive and brings about emotions, good, bad or umcomfortable. Reading is exciting. Reading is personal.
That's why I connect likes and favorites to books. Children learn to love reading by reading books they love. In school it's not always the case. We need to read to learn about different topics, including those we don't necessarily like. We need to learn to decode and comprehend text in various ways. We need to determine author message.. And so on. But when we can empower children to choose books they like based on their own personal reasons, for the pure enjoyment of connecting to the author's story, we empower them to learn to love reading. We need to do this as much as possible.
My wish is for every child (person) to find a book they love. The one they connect to on a persoanl level. The one that changes, moves, and excites them to read more. The one that creates the "movie" inside their head. That inspires their creativity and inquiry. To find the book that makes them realize that reading is more than decoding words.
Go find that "perfect" book and when you're done reading, find the next one!
(P.S.: all formats of books are reading and they serve different purposes in our lives. So read audiobooks, ebooks and print books. Just because your eyes aren't "decoding" doesn't mean you aren't reading. All books count!!)
I am a PK-6 grade Libary Media Specialist. I LOVE being a librarian, I LOVE reading (now) and I LOVE my students. I am also a wife, mom daughter, aunt and friend; all roles I enjoy thoroughly. I love to laugh try to find the humor in even the darkest moments.