I had an Ah-ha moment this evening. It wasn’t one of those life changing epiphanies-sorry to disappoint, but it was pretty moving for me on a professional level.
While decompressing after a longggggggggg week, a friend and I sat at our favorite hole-in-wall establishment with our favorite poisons. We talked about our favorite books that we were “made” to read in high school. It was an amazing conversation! We laughed about how thankful we were now that someone made us read it. We both shared how we connected with the characters and didn’t want to quit reading when we finished the last chapter.
Later that evening while holding down my couch, I thought about our conversation and my students ( I wish those kids KNEW they were always in the back of my head! I wish every student KNEW how much their teacher thinks of them!). My kiddos all HATE to read. I am beginning to believe it is a lost art. I was a reader as a kid ( I was the librarian’s kid) and honestly, it made a difference for me. When no one else knew or understood what I was going through, there was always a character in the book who had shared my experiences, and made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And isn’t that what EVERY tweenager & teenager needs–To feel like they aren’t alone?
Don’t we all NEED to feel like we aren’t alone? Mother Teresa claimed loneliness is our worst problem as a society and, I have to tell you, I agree. We all need a backup system to thrive whether it be real or something you found in a piece of fiction you were MADE to read.
I truly believe that some of my students’ worst learning issue is that they feel so alone. I HATE THAT. Well, then the AH-HA moment hit me. They HAVE to be read to more. I mean, I read out loud to them almost daily, but I really have to start doing it more or making it more relevant to them or doing something to help them identify and see that they aren’t alone. I can’t even imagine a childhood without literature, but I work with kids whose households don’t contain a word of print. I HATE THAT TOO. just sayin’
I guess my whole point to this post is my revelation of how my identifying with fictional characters made life bearable during those excruciating teen years, and how I don’t want my students to miss out on an opportunity to see they are struggling with the same things every teen has for the past 100 years. I want them to hear great books even when they hate to read them. They don’t have to love it now to appreciate it later. So add another notch to my “To Do” list. I am on a quest to read to them more, to make them feel connected, to make them feel not-so-alone, to ignite the fire. So expect to hear more in the very near future….