My Life as a Reader

Many years ago, I heard Lucy Calkins speak about teaching reading.  There were many things she said that day that impacted my teaching in so many ways.  One of the things she said was: Share your life as a reader.  Let kids hear about your reading habits.  They need to know it's not just a subject, but a part of everyone's life. I also think that sharing a little bit of the "personal you" with you students helps them feel more comfortable with sharing their own thoughts with you.  

I am a zealous reader.  If I don't have a book to read and a book waiting to be read...then something is very wrong.  I love learning new things, meeting new characters, reading a new author's craft, settling in to a familiar writing style and escaping to a different time and place.  If I find an author I like, I try to read all of their books. I'm such a snob about new authors because I don't want to waste my precious time on a book I won't like, so I only read books that have been recommended to me.  I even keep a digital book log in Google docs, by author, to keep track of books I've read so that I don't accidentally reread them years later (I am the only one stupid enough to do that? ) But it's very handy when I'm at the store or library.  I simply pull up my docs account on my iphone to check to see what books I haven't read by a specific author. 

People ask me all the time, "How in the world do you find time to read?"  I like to use a phrase that I learned from Lucy Calkins. I make time by carving out time for reading in my day.  If I look at my busy day that starts at 5 am and ends after my 3 kids' extra curricular activities and their homework then I wouldn't find the time.  But I start by always keeping a book with me.  I read while I'm drying my hair, sitting in the car line after school, at the waiting room during appts. with the kids, while waiting for a training to start and then maybe for 15 minutes in a quick bath before bed.  (My favorite reading spot!)

My life as a reader has changed in one signifigant way this year:  the iPad!  Once I read a book on my iPad, I was hooked!  It's easy to keep in my purse, I always have the next book ready and waiting to read.  I. Just. Love. It.  But I do have one confession to make, after reading about 5 books in a row on the iPad, a friend loaned me a book she had bought.  I opened up that paper book after several weeks of reading and realised... Acckkk!  I could barely read the words.  I had been using the larger font feature on the iPad and turning up the brightness on the backlighting.  Ahhh, I guess it's time for glasses. 

Check out posts by others participating the the Fall Blog Challenge 2010 on the right sidebar of my blog :)


Elaine said...

I love to re-read books. It's like visiting old friends.

Of course, I know I would be able to read many, many more new books if I didn't re-read all the time, but that's okay too.

I am re-reading Kerrelyn Sparks' Love at Stake series right now. The new book came out a few weeks ago and I want to read the series straight through.

It's a good thing October is rather a dry month for my authors this year.

tasteach said...

G'day Melanie,
I think three of the posts mentioned as participating in your fall challenge actually are from the student blogging challenge which I am running at

But it is great to see an adult blogging challenge happening. I often use events on a calendar as things to post about like Blog Action Day on October 15 which relates to water this year.

Thanks for coming to my blog! I went to your site and didn't see the topics, but I can imagine how they might be similiar. Great minds think alike! I was so impressed by the work I saw you doing there with kids. I haven't seen another site like it. Great guidance, feedback, encouragement. I love your idea about using timely events for posts ideas. I might try to incorporate something like that for the next challenge! :)

Melanie...I have 5 books sitting on my dresser waiting for their turn! I've got about 50 more pages to go in the one I'm currently reading :)

My favorite time of day for reading is 30 minutes before bedtime when I am supine and sleepy. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Stacey said...

I'm lugging around a copy of The Help these days. Somehow I think it would be much easier to read on-the-go if I had it on an iPad.

BTW: I love your response, "I make time by carving out time for reading in my day." There's always time to do everything if we're willing to make time for it.

Bill Gaskins said...

I love to read but I find I read professional books all the time. I am rereading Adolescents and Digital Literacies by Sarah Kajder and a new book arrived today Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts, Oh My! by Jeffrey Piontek and Blane Conklin. I am waiting for the Because Digital Writing Matters to arrive in the mail.

I spend at least an hour a day reading blogs in my Google Reader. I am not very good at leaving comments behind and I write at blog at

Usually, my summers are for fun reading- Dan Brown, Pat Conroy, Grisham, Dan Brown, Cromwell and others.


iliketech said...

I think this is a great topic to share with students and to blog about. Last year at our school we had professional portraits taken of most of the staff members holding their favorite books. These photos are displayed in the main lobby for students to see. There is a wide range of books that people choose and it helped spark conversations about reading; and hopefully encouraged more students to read.

My reading has changed, and evolved over the years. I mainly read nonfiction for information, totaling about 1 hour a day. I read the newspaper everyday and read a lot of online newspapers and blogs. I have several news aggregators that help me read a variety of news topics from around the world; and I have several blogs bookmarked that I read on a regular basis. In fact, I would say that most of my reading now takes place online. I am of the belief that reading is reading and it does not matter what you are reading, it still has value. I find a lot of value in the various blogs that I read, as these make me think about my teaching and how I teach. The news I read, helps keep me informed about the things happening around me; and the fictional stories I read spur my imagination. Most of my fiction “reading” takes the form of audio books. I enjoy listening to audio books as I fall asleep. It helps me to relax and fall asleep and I get to listen to lots of books every year. I know many people might not consider listening to audio books as reading, but, it does allow me to get the same content knowledge, just in a different form.