Reading and Writing and Teaching

If you want your children to be readers, they need to know that you read. This applies to teachers as well as parents.

Luckily for me, I teach in a school that values literacy for its own sake. We have a true rock-star librarian. Our principal regularly reads with groups of students during winter lunches. Students are allowed to take their food into the library for these events.

Our school participates in the Sequoyah Awards (Oklahoma’s children’s books award), and there are multiple copies of the books on the elementary Sequoyah list in the library. Teachers choose books to read to their classes. Students who read at least half of the 15 or 16 books on the list get to camp out in the library after the votes are cast.

We celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday. We read fall stories when we visit the Pumpkin Patch. We invite authors to visit our school, and before they come we read as many of their books as we can. We read for the sheer joy of reading.

As a reading teacher, I read so I know books that my students will love. As a writer, I read to know what’s already been done and to learn the craft of writing.  I read to sink into a good story.

I’ve read dozens of books in the past four years, perhaps hundreds. I was teaching college freshmen at Tulsa Community College when a friend talked me into returning to the public school classroom to teach reading. Full-time teaching didn’t stymie my reading, but it did slow down my blogging about books. What time I had to write was spent on stories, essays, and poetry, not on blogging. But…

I need to discuss books. Surely I can work a little book talk into my schedule. Surely.

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