Monday, March 13, 2017

Reading Life

I read the Nerdy Book Club blog A Reading Life... Interrupted by Dr. Teri Lesesne (one of my Library Science professors... just FYI).

Take a minute to read it.

This post struck a cord with me.  1. Cancer.  Ugh.  Just ugh.  My grandma and aunt fought and won the battle with breast cancer.  I recently lost a friend and co-worker to cancer.  Dr. Lesesne describes how cancer changed her life.  It changed it in ways I, not ever having had cancer, "understood", like loosing your hair.

But she also talked about how cancer interrupted her reading life.  This was not something I would of put with to cancer.  She writes about how it changed her opinions on what reading is.  Now "ANY reading is good reading."

All this made me think about a couple of things in my life.

During the school year my daughter doesn't read much for pleasure.  And I hate that.  But I also get it. Her brain is tired.  She's read for school all day long.  Whether a textbook or a novel study that they're doing in class or 1 of the 4 summary books she has to read and write about.  Knowing that... I still hate that school, the place that should be encouraging reading is what keeps her from reading for pleasure.  Luckily she does LOVE audiobooks and listens to one every night as she's drifting off to sleep. (That makes it sound like I don't think audiobooks are reading. I do believe 100% that audiobooks are reading!)

I had to convince her that that still counted as reading though.  I finally had to pull the "I'm a librarian with a master's degree telling you that audiobooks count as reading!" card.  I might of thrown my hands in the air... and had an attitude about it... it was not my finest moment.  But really?  Why do people (adults especially) think audiobooks aren't reading?

But when summer approaches she's asking to go to the public library where we check out books and audiobooks and she reads like like the book dragon I know she is.

For me, when I was in college for both my bachelor's and masters degree I didn't read for pleasure. My brain hurt.  And I was tired of looking at books, textbooks mostly but still, I was tired of looking at them.  So I didn't read much of those 6 1/2 years.

Last school year something happened.  Every book I picked up I hated.  I can't tell you how many books I started but put down.  Or how many I forced myself to read to remind myself that I could finish a book.  Or how many of those books I forced myself to finish, listened to other people rave about and wonder why I had to force myself to read it and still didn't like it.

It made me question myself.  Question my reading life.  Even question my profession.  Was I even fit to be a librarian?

I came out of my reading funk and felt so much more like myself again.

This also makes me wonder about my students.  Part of my job as a librarian is to help foster a love of reading.  I do fun reading programs, I do Book Fairs, I do book award challenges to get students interested in books.  But how many are like my daughter and don't read much during the school year because of... school?  How many of them are struggling readers but will end up being book worms?  How many of them have other things happening in their live that prevent them from reading?

After reading Dr. Lesesne's post I hope I can remember her words.  Our reading lives do get interrupted through out our lives.  Any reading is good reading!  And as Dr. Lesesne quoted Donalyn Miller "We need to hold on knowing that we have a firm foundation, and that the reading life will, ultimately, resume."


  1. beautiful post. I try really hard to keep this in mind with my teenagers--and just hold on until they find their way back to reading. Yes, any reading is good reading.

  2. I was really moved when you said, "I still hate that school, the place that should be encouraging reading is what keeps her from reading for pleasure." It drives me crazy when ELA teachers spend so much time teaching reading "skills" & practicing passages for state testing, that they don't make time for kids to actually read!