Sunday, September 30, 2012

31 Days::: Let the Fun Begin!

So for the past few years, I have watched the Nester's 31 Days project grow.  And while I thought long and hard about participating, like so many things in my life, I let a little voice creep in and say things like, "Why would anyone want to read what you have to say about, well, anything?"  And that's an annoying voice and so to make it go away, I would reply with, "Yep.  You're right.  No one would,"  and then let out a big sigh and I would move on to the next thing.

But over the summer I was consumed by a little tiny grain of a thought, "Maybe someone would read it."

I know that lots of people write about reading and books and literacy.  I know that very well.  I know that lots of people are incredibly passionate about these things and write amazing articles and posts, reviews and memoirs about reading and how it changed their life.

Because here's the thing, if you really think about it... 
reading changes everyone's life...

Either...

1.  You learn how to read and you love it.  A life long reader in the making.  Book worm.  Every teacher's dream.  Books become your window into the world.  They become a mirror and you see yourself in the characters on the pages.

2.  You learn how to read and you're indifferent towards it.  Bleh.  Some people feel that way.  I've had students feel that way.  And of course I always take the path of I'm sure you just haven't found the right book...because you're so close to being a book lover...but sometimes that's not a book at all that's the right thing.  Sometimes people love to read magazines or cook books or video game guides, comics, car manuals, blogs.  You see where I'm going with this?  In my world, reading is reading and sometimes people who say they don't read, really do.  To me, it all counts! (But I think I'm about to bust a move on a digression, so I'm going to move along!)

3.  You learn how to read and you hate it.  My question is always, what do you hate about it?  Do you hate all reading or just school reading?  If you hate something, it more than likely created negativity in your life.  A negative change.  Hate it or not, you can now read your mail, legal documents and recipes.  Boom!  Reading has changed your life.

OR

4.  You never learned how to read.  And the tragedy of knowing that you haven't learned something so very important has changed your life.  Your life took a different turn when that skill was not mastered.

So when I tell you that reading changed my life, I am well aware of how cliche it sounds.  But I am going to say it anyway.  Reading changed my life.

I was a child of a broken home (not my term, but what society labeled it, it sounds dramatic so sometimes I like to use it).  I was an only child - or should I say, I was surrounded by half and step siblings, but was the only one that lived in my house.  By the time I was six, I was desperate to learn to read.  You see, when the weather was nice, and my mom had a day off from her retail job, and the chores were done, she would put on her bikini, douse herself in Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, and lay out on the deck, soaking up the sun.  In one hand she would hold a Danielle Steel book and with the other she would pop cucumber slices into her mouth.

My older step sister was devouring the Sweet Valley High series and while she laid on her bed to read, I would sit at the foot of the bed and watch her.  I would watch.her.read.  Creepy, I know.

In my mind, reading was something big girls did and once I could do that, well, clearly, I was then a big girl.

Once I learned how and started reading, I couldn't be stopped.  I had a walk in closet and would stay in there, reading for hours.  I tore through Berenstain Bears, Ramona books and the Harriet books.  When I got in trouble, my grounding was to play outside or to help my mother plant flowers.

My mom caught on and began making visits to the bookstore part of my allowance.  A trip to Walden Books on Saturday mornings.  She would let me pick two books.  I was allowed to spread out on the floor with my choices and carefully examine each before making a final choice.  She never rushed me.

I don't think there was ever more motivation to complete my chores.

My dad may not have been entirely sure of what he should do with a little girl when I spent my summers with him.  So he took me to Chicago Public Libraries.  I would scan the shelves and end up with a stack of books that I rested my chin on as I carried them up to the circulation desk.  Reading was a safe activity.  Reading was something I could do as my little brothers napped.

My Aunt and Uncle would take me to Barnes and Noble at Oak Brook Mall and we would spend the afternoon there.  They would buy coffee table books about The Beatles and writing guide books, books about Monet and the plays of Neil Simon. 

I imagined myself as a member of the Baby Sitters Club.  I stayed awake nights reading Christopher Pike and VC Andrews books. 

As I look back on growing up and going away to college...I was never without a book.  Books were always faithful companions.

It made sense then, that I became a teacher, went on to earn a Master's Degree in Children's Literature and then a Specialist Degree in School Library Media.  I know a lot about reading.  I know a lot about books and writing.  I know a lot about the impact that those things - books and reading and writing and literacy -  have had on me...and my students...and the patrons of my library.

So even though there is still a whisper of "Why would anyone want to read what you have to say?" I answer to that, Someone just might.  They just might.

I am joining the 31 Days Series.  31 Days of Reading.  I'll be sharing with you some of my favorite reads, some of my favorite books to give as gifts to little ones, big kids and teens, and tips for helping reluctant readers.  I certainly hope that you'll stick around.  



{linking up with Nester for 31 Days}

 {and if you're a regular reader, no fear, I'll still be posting crazy antics from my children, new shop info, and general life updates!}

6 comments:

Eliza said...

I'm super excited about this! Your post brought back lots of childhood reading memories and I know I'm going to love reading about your book opinions. Yay!

Heather said...

This series sounds interesting. I am a life long reader. My first reading memory is of my Dad reading National Geographic to me.

ZDub said...

Ooh, I can't wait to hear all about your favs.

Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader said...

Really excited to read this series - I love finding the other book-related 31 Days series! :)

Kristen said...

I'll read what you have to say! I love to read, and love to see what others say about reading, too.

Rebekah said...

Look forward to all of the above.