Wednesday, 20 November 2013
I confess. I love to read.
I have secretly read under my desk in school because I was dying to finish the book I was reading and it was far more interesting that the teacher and the subject.
I have been scolded for reading at the dinner table and for not doing my chores and for not getting out of bed on a Saturday morning instead of getting ready to leave the house with my family.
I have frequently read secretly under the covers after being told to got to bed.
So, according to Esquith, I am an avid and lifelong reader. My mum has commented that I was born with my nose in a book and been that way ever since! I must always have something on the go to read, and it has to be a supremely bad or boring book for me not to persevere through to the end. I read a variety of genres and because I believe in re-reading, the spines are creased and worn on many of my favourites.
Reading through the first chapter of Barone's book "Children's literature in the classroom", I am one of those people she describes who read for pleasure or escape or to find information. I choose books by my favourite authors and read everything that he or she has written. I use the internet and I love my kindle (though not as much as I love the feel of a book in hands). (Barone, pg 4. ) I identified well with her list of reasons for reading. I read for pleasure, and alot of what I have loved reading has been fantasy by authors such as Raymond E. Feist, Robert Jordan, Katharine Kerr, Guy Gavriel Kay where I am transported to an imaginative world. I love the works of authors such as Barbara Erskine. Colleen McCullough, Bryce Courtney, Jean M, Auel, who write works of historical fiction that transport you to a place in history and enable you to feel like you lived then too. I read for vicarious experiences, especially autobiographies and biographies of people climbing Mt Everest, travelling down the Amazon river, surviving the holocaust. I read to ponder, to understand, to appreciate. I read to solve problems and engage in conversations.
And I have tried very hard to instil this love of reading, especially the love of reading for enjoyment and pleasure with the students that I teach. I have always had a novel on the go, that had no relationship to the curriculum, that we read every day - just. for. enjoyment. Kindergarten and year 1 have loved being transported to Enid Blyton's world of the Magic Faraway Tree and the wonderful and sometimes worrying adventures found at the top of the Faraway Tree ladder. Roald Dahl's works never fail to inspire my students whether it be Twits suffering the consequences of their actions, or discovering the world of Charlie and the Chocolate factory through the words of the text where 'square lollies with eyes look round'. I introduced my year 5's this year to Enid Blyton's Famous Five resulting in every student clamouring for more, resisting going out to recess until we reached the end of the chapter. I have brought alive the world's created by authors such as J. K. Rowling, Emily Rodda, Morris Glietzman, Roald Dahl, E.B. White, C.S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter, Lemony Snicket, Judy Blume, Paul Jennings, Beverly Cleary, Michael Ende, Ted Hughes, Munro Leaf. When the students come back from the library, having found more works by the same author, or having borrowed what we have just read, I know that I have made an impact and developed an aspect of their love of reading for enjoyment.
There are so many many many novels and picture books that I loved sharing with my students over the years. Sadly though, my library collection of much loved books is back in storage in Australia. Which means I had best be off to join my local library as I can feel the need to borrow some children's literature and start exploring some familiar and undiscovered reading treasures!
Barone, D. M. (2011). A brief history of children's literature. Children's literature in the classroom : engaging lifelong readers (pp. 8-19). New York: Guilford Press.