I woke up this morning at about 8 o’ clock to the sound of workers drilling into concrete on the building across the parking lot. The annoyance at being awoken in this manner quickly turned to delight as I turned over and saw her smiling up at me.
That’s right. On my nightstand was the book I’m currently reading, and she was lighting up my day.
You see, today, I have nothing planned. No conferences to attend. No jobs to interview for. No packing to do. No unpacking to do. I can’t get into my school because they’re waxing the hallway, so even if I wanted to go in and organize my classroom, I couldn’t. It’s the first genuinely free day I’ve had all summer. And I get to spend it with my book.
This delights me, and I’m glad I am in a reading mood (we readers know that sometimes, even reading is not a comfort). But it got me thinking about my students.
They also have a lot of responsibilities over the summer. Navigating the waters of adolescent friendships can be daunting enough. Add to that summer jobs, summer school, family vacations, and their time is quickly taken up. But even so, they too will find those days on which they have nothing planned. What will they choose to do on those days?
When I was a teenager, I chose video games. Some may choose to go to the pool. Some might think it’s a good day to finally try one of mommy’s blue pills. But what do we do to help them see that reading is not only an option, but a worthy one? That it is, in fact, something to look forward to?
That’s a big part of what building lifelong readers is about. The school year is almost here (or, again, for some of us, it’s already arrived). What are we doing to present reading as a valuable free time activity?