Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Challenge – Who am I?

One of the blogs I follow, A Year of Reading, is written by a couple of school teachers and they often discuss teaching reading in elementary school.

Recently, one of them challenged her grade 4 and 5 students to identify 100 things about themselves as readers.
This tied into a book I had read recently, that talked about the importance of getting kids to recognize themselves as readers,  The Reading Turn-Around by Stephanie Jones, Lane Clarke, and Grace Enriquez (372.417 JoR 2010).  Chapter two is all about getting to know your students and figuring out what they read, perceptions of themselves as readers or nonreaders, in addition to many points of reflection for the teacher about their own practices.  A couple of examples are (from page 25):

Do I call attention to certain students as being ‘good’ or ‘struggling’ readers in one way or another?  How does that impact all my students’ reading identities?
Do I make assumptions about what students are thinking rather than asking them?

There’s lots of practical advice about how to rework the reading classroom so that there are many opportunities for students to succeed.

The blog got me thinking about how I identify myself as a reader and I liked the idea of the challenge to come with 100 things.  It’s not easy.  I got to somewhere around 50 easily, the rest took longer to come up with.  I got to 87.

I’m not going to list all 87 but thought I’d do two, Top 10 lists.

List one:  
Most Typical Points About Me As Reader (or, No Surprises Here)
  1. I’m always, always reading.
  2. Something very recent: I’m a newbie to the blogging world meaning that I’m now hooked on a bunch of different blogs to read about diverse topics such as children’s literature, education and teaching, travel, eclectic thoughts about everyday life, and creative thinking.
  3. I love recommending and loaning books to friends and family
  4. I never feel guilty about not finishing a book.
  5. I always have several books on the go (about 6 or 7 at the moment). I’m pretty good about remembering where I’ve left off.
  6. I read for information and pleasure.
  7. I listen to audio books when I run.  I’m half-way through The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.
  8. As a kid, I read at night hanging off the end of the bed to see by the light in the hallway when I should have been sleeping.
  9. I love it when books show me something in a new light.  Recent examples, The Vermeer Interviews by Chris Raczka, The Arrival by Shaun Tan, The Grand Mosque of Paris by Karen Gray Ruelle, and 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy.  Too many to list, really.
  10. I love to discuss books with people.

List two: 
Less Likely, Usual or Mundane Points About Me As Reader (or, The ‘Who knew’ List)
  1.  The first book I read with a swear word was Thunderhead by Mary O’Hara. (Yup, a horse book.). I was in junior high school. It was ‘damn’. Guess it made an impression.
  2. I love donating my own books to good causes for raising money.  Basically, this keeps the book buying ‘habit’ under control and eases the guilt.
  3. I discovered that I have a creative bent because of Shelia McGraw’s book Papier Mache for Kids.
  4. I seldom reread books.  Books I have reread, include several by Bill Bryson, Love that Dog by Sharon Creech and The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
  5. Not into vampire books.  Haven’t read a single one of the Twilight series (even for ‘professional’ interest).
  6. I tried teaching my sister to read with Dick and Jane books when she was in kindergarten and I would have been in grade 2 or 3.  Don’t know whether I succeeded but did a good enough job so that she could say all the words on each page.
  7. I was in a remedial reading class (grade 4, after moving from Ottawa to Saskatoon). I don’t remember being upset by this or questioning it in anyway. I do remember my parents spending hours with me doing reading homework trying to help me read.  These are good memories.
  8. If a book is funny, I laugh out loud.  Makes for awkward moments when in public.
  9. I love being read aloud to. My partner and I read to each other at night before bed.  We pick books with lots of humour.
  10. Not too keen on belonging to adult book clubs. I’ve learned that I prefer not to be restricted in what I’m reading trying to meet a ‘deadline’. (This might surprise you based on List One, #10)

Well, that’s the good, the bad and the ugly about me as Reader.
What about you?


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