Monday, May 29, 2017

Everyone needs to read for fun

Back in 2009, when I first began writing this blog, the topics covered were a lot different. I used to write a lot about what I was reading. The first couple of posts lauded the works of authors such as Charlaine Harris, Melanie Watt, and Stephenie Meyer.

My blogging style has evolved a bit, and I noticed that I haven't written much about what I've been reading. (The last book-related post was in February 2017 when my friend Salma lent me a book called Let the Elephants Run by David Usher. Prior to that, it may have been 2015 - thank you ability to search Blogger for keywords for helping discover this!)

I still read. I've just noticed that a lot of my reading lately has been very purposeful. I'm currently re-reading Trevor Mackenzie's Dive Into Inquiry so I can participate (albeit late) in the TVO Teach Ontario book club about it. I read all the 2017 Forest of Reading nominees so I could chat with students about the books and sign their passports. I re-read parts of The Loxleys and Confederation as well as Louis Riel by Chester Brown so I could use parts of those graphic novels for my intermediate ESL history lessons and as references for a mini-project I was asked to do.

Time is precious and there have been many tasks demanding my time - I needed to finish creating the school yearbook, complete marking the clothing media projects and the reflection sheets from eight classes, and arrange the launch of the Maker Festival volunteer registration form. I still need to make time for me, to stay healthy, and I found out that I could combine two activities and make them enjoyable and productive - I can read on the treadmill!

The book that actually had me excited about my 30 minute exercise was Fire Touched, the ninth book in Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson series of novels. You can go to to see a list of all her books. I didn't read it to become a better person. I didn't read it to get informed. I didn't read it for my job. I read it for fun. And it was! It was delightful and made my time on the treadmill fly past. I actually made a pact with myself that I would not read the book unless it was walking time. That made the book last longer, but sadly, all good things come to an end and I finished it this past week.  Thank you Patricia Briggs for creating such a vibrant fictional world, with multi-dimensional characters that readers can relate to despite their supernatural abilities. I may not be able to wait for the tenth and might have to borrow it from the library before buying it in paperback. (I'm somewhat obsessed about having my book series look the same on the shelf.)

When I googled "reading for pleasure", I found plenty of articles about how teachers can encourage the habit, but I didn't see much about them doing it for themselves. We need to practice what we preach. I searched for a tweet that was on my timeline that reminded us that graphic novels, audio books and wordless picture books are all real reading. (Lost it in the flow of communication.) Same goes for what some might consider "fluff" - let adults, and that means teachers too, read what brings them joy. It's good for us - for our mental health (and if you read on the treadmill, for our physical health too!)

1 comment:

  1. I love to read for pleasure, and at this busy time of the year, I find myself doing so less. I'm not giving it up though. I may have been working on the same book for weeks, but I still find time each day to read at least a chapter. This me time is important, and I'm determined to make it work.

    What really worries me is how little "reading for pleasure" I see kids doing. I remember when I taught Grades 5 and 6. Most of the kids I taught only read books they had to read for class. Are they just reading different things now? Is there still value in thinking about ways we can get children to choose to read books? I wonder if others have noticed this trend in students too.