Reading should be a delight- not drudgery. Think kids staying up late, flashlight in hand, to finish just one more chapter. Too often though, this is not what we see. We have to coax, wheedle, beg and even sometimes even bribe children to pick up a book.
We can hardly blame the schools for this. After insisting they are responsible for solving this problem huge amounts of money have been squandered to rectify the situation. Heroic efforts are being made by educators near and far. Yet after kids endure all the drills, tests and worksheets we now deem educationally necessary, I can’t say that I blame anyone for being reluctant to read. Even my own enthusiasm for reading was sorely tried over those school years (see here for more details). From what I’ve seen, in the years since, things have only gotten worse.
Time to rebel I say! We need make a stand, to fight against a system that seems determined to waste time and resources of churning out more and more “miracle solutions” while completely ignoring the greatest weapon we have: the books themselves. Friends… fellow bookworms, join this noble cause! Let us take back the joy of reading, then shamelessly recruit the rising generation!
For your guide to revolutionary reading, please consider the following titles. Viva Books!
Books of the Rebellious Sort
“The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child” by Donalyn Miller
Every teacher and parent should read this book! Donalyn Miller is like a teacher ninja. She’s a reading sensei, and this book is her karate chop to the status quo. Upon reading her lists of why both book reports and novel studies actually discourage reading, I was impressed (I also wanted to hug her).
Most reading programs like to reinvent the wheel. Not so Miller! A veteran teacher, she has yet to meet a child she can’t turn into a reader. Her goal is for everyone in her classroom-including herself- to read forty books a year. With her tried and true methods even us untrained in the academic arts can do it. While the book focuses on teaching, it’s a how-to guide in making reading happen that anyone can make excellent use of. Strategies on how to building a vibrant book community, monitoring progress, an extensive book list, and more… they’re all here. Rebelling against the educational machine has never been so easy, nor so fun.
“We Are in a Book!” by Mo Willems
A master of comedy, Willems is at his best in his Piggie & Gerald series. While enjoyable for readers of any age, this gem is my favourite recommendation for beginner readers. Interactive and engaging, the antics of this carefree pig and angst-ridden elephant have been shared before on this blog. It’s pure storytime joy.
What could compete with the joys of reading? How about being read yourself ? These two best friends set out to milk that fun for all it’s worth-but what will they do when the book ends? A fantastic story, told as only Willems can.
Reluctant readers need not be a permanent problem. We can be a part of the solution: one good book at a time. After all, they are the best weapons we have. So let’s use them.
What are your best titles for combatting reading apathy? I always love discovering a good book, so comment below.
Finding joy in books, that’s really what this is all about. While this video is an old of me and a much smaller Bruce, it does capture what we’re fighting for (in case you’re wondering, we’re reading “We Are in a Book!”).
Happy reading my friends. Viva la Revolution!