This FREE book available from Scholastic (Open a World of Possible), is very inspiring on a beautiful Sunday morning. As I sit in my favorite chair overlooking the quiet street below and drinking my tea, I read about how some of my favorite authors became hooked on books and reading.
In the introduction, Lois Bridges shares that, "Reading is the ultimate paradox. Every time we lose ourselves between the covers of a book and immerse ourselves in the lives of other people, we're more likely to discover our own. And, oh, what we gain--keener insights, deeper understanding and empathy, and a grander grasp of language, ideas, and the world. Every time we open the pages of a book, we open a world of possible." (8)
One of the stories my mom always shares with others is how I would take a blanket, a lunch, my favorite kitten, and a book and just disappear for the day on our family farm in Minnesota. I vividly remember setting up camp on the roof of an old abandoned truck that was hidden away in the trees. Another one of my favorite spots was what my brother and I called the rock pile that was across a field and very much like Jess and Leslie's Terabithia. I loved being outside as much as possible and the outdoors was always enhanced when I had a book to keep me company. I am so grateful to my family for giving me the opportunity--and the freedom--to do this when I was a child. I know that others aren't so lucky.
One character that I immediately bonded with as a 6th graders was Anne Shirley from L.M Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables." Starting with her love of reading and books, to her bright red hair and outgoing personality, she and I were 'kindred spirits' from the start. I re-read the book this past summer and fell in love with her all over again!
It is this feeling of connection and wonder that I want to bring into my classroom and nurture within each of my students. As we educators know too well, the JOY of reading (and learning) continues to dwindle overall. The good news is that there are well known and respected people out there, such as Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, and Sally Reis, who are spreading a message that high quality literature paired with giving children a choice about what they read, can truly make a difference. There are also many classroom teachers and librarians, like Carrie Seiden, Sarah Cheney, and Erika Bogdany, who dedicate much effort and energy into introducing the right books to the right children.
I have often felt that education focuses way too much on the negative aspects of what is happening, and overlooks all of the amazing things that individuals and small groups do EVERY DAY! As I tell my students, focus on the positive and you will find what you are looking for:)
I encourage you to read "Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Joy and Power of Reading" to rekindle your passion and joy for reading if you have felt bogged down by all the other 'stuff' going on in education. Share some of the stories with your students and colleagues and find out what inspired others to live the life of a reader.
I would love to hear how YOU came to the world of reading! Share in the comment section below:)
Open a World of Possible: Real Stories About the Power of Joy and Power of Reading by Lois Bridges and Scholastic
This year, Teen Read Week will take place October 12-18. See the website for some of the great resources and watch a short video that highlights the top 10 nominees!
This Saturday morning, I had the pleasure to participate in a free online conference sponsored by The Educator Collaborative. (If you haven't already, become a member--it's free!)
To watch the archived sessions, go to their website!! Also, learn more #TheEdCollabGathering
One of my hero's, Donalyn Miller, was the keynote speaker and inspired everyone to use more non-fiction in their teaching for both classrooms and libraries.
Here are some of the suggestions she gave to engage more students with non-fiction texts:
Some of my favorite nonfiction authors...
Additional Resources for Using Non-Fiction in the Classroom
I am a middle school teacher librarian and former classroom teacher. I have a passion for all things books and try to match my readers with high quality literature in every possible situation.