You won't be surprised to learn that when I look back at my favorite elementary school reading memories, the best ones were times when I felt relaxed, happy, and fully engaged with a story I loved. They never involved feeling stressed or bored. I wasn't worried about reading at my level (did I have a level? Who knows!). I wasn't trying to improve myself by checking authors off the canon. I was having a good time.
In second grade, my teacher read aloud to us all the time. She read Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia, and surely other less emotionally devastating titles as well! But now, three decades later, I remember where I was sitting on the carpet when we learned that (spoiler) Leslie died.
I went to the school library and looked at National Geographic magazine, and read, lying on my stomach on the shag rug (the 70s were still happening in my school). I went to my local library for story hour and eventually proudly graduated from the kid room to the teen room.
All of these experiences had in common choice, curiosity, and joy.
Over on Reader Leader, expert educators share their experiences around choice, curiosity and joy:
Franki Sibberson reflects on the time when a former student, now a mother, said to her, "I dusted this book off to read to Rose yesterday - I can't get it out without thinking of you!" (Reading Memories that Last a Lifetime)
Dr. Brad Gustafson and Jennifer LaGarde introduce us to the concept of #30SecondBookTalk (could I book-talk Bridge to Terabithia without crying?)(Cast Your Vote for Literacy in The World Book Talk Championships!)
From the Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition we learn all about the reading behaviors and preferences of kids and families, and learn some good news about reading aloud from birth. (Check out the Kids & Family Reading Report™: 6th Edition)
Katharine Hale asks, Would it Be So Bad if We Let Kids Ask Questions? (Not only does regularly asking questions help with overall comprehension, but it's especially important for media literacy.)
And finally, Travis Crowder writes, "English classrooms are magical places, but they have the potential of becoming sources of anxiety and boredom." But they don't have to be! (We Are Responsible for All Readers)