“Reading ought to change us….reading ought to enable us to change ourselves.” — Robert E. Probst
This quote has been ingrained in my mind since I read Disrupting Thinking last summer.
This quote has changed me.
I have always been focused on doing the best I can in my profession. I always wanted to use the next best “tech” thing in my classroom. I felt like I was up to date because I went to professional development whenever it was offered and I worked to expand my professional learning network by joining Twitter. After reading Disrupting Thinking I realized I was missing out on so much more.
I always struggled with how to get my students to read more. I provided a classroom library with books I thought would be interesting to them. I offered choice in our class book clubs. Even through my efforts, there was something missing.
I wasn’t reading.
I didn’t know what books were good, I merely went on hearsay. I couldn’t talk books with my students because I wasn’t reading their books.
I decided to make a change.
I love to read, but I wasn’t reading things that were helping me make connections with my students. So, I began reading their books. I began reading picture books. I joined the #classroombookaday (@heisereads) crew and began reading a picture book everyday to my students. I began paying attention to book recommendations from Jennifer LaGarde (@jenniferlagarde) and Pernille Ripp (@pernilleripp), and actually reading the recommendations.
I began talking books with everybody, not just my students. I was confident when I gave a recommendation to my students because I had read the book I was recommending. I was able to point students in the direction of a book that would interest them because I knew my students and I knew what the books were about.
I was changing. I was becoming more empathetic and understanding. I grew up in a very small town. My knowledge of people that didn’t look like me or weren’t from my parents’ economic standing was very limited. By reading about others, I was becoming more aware of personal situations because I had read a book that enlightened me a little more of situations I previously didn’t know anything about. Instead of being quick to say, I can’t believe someone would do that, I paid more attention to their situations and began thinking about things from their perspective. We can provide this for our students. We can give them opportunities to read about kids who aren’t like them and allow them to develop empathy for someone else. We can give them opportunities to read about kids who are like them…not always like us. Allow them to see themselves and find a connection to a character in a story. We can help students see reading as a gift.
“Reading ought to change us…..reading ought to enable us to change ourselves.” — Robert E. Probst