Outside the Book
Our collective goal as educators is that students succeed with reading. Even more than that, we want them to develop into strong communicators with a broad base of knowledge. We want them to be good followers, when that is warranted. We want them to be effective leaders, when leaders are needed. To accomplish all these aims, we need to think, to teach and to create inspiration for learners inside and outside of books.
Before, During and After
Before students read, do we help them to understand the purpose of the reading? Do they know that sometimes we explore text for information and other times for sheer enjoyment? Are you reading to find out one, specific fact? Are you reading as a starting point to share opinions with others? What is the purpose? How does what you bring to the reading affect what you get from the reading?
During the reading, how are you making connections to the real world? How does what the reader is seeing in print relate to what the reader experiences in his or her world outside the book? How can these connections make the words come alive…cause the experience with the book to last beyond the moments the words are read?
After reading, do you simply close the book or do you extend the learning? Do we invite learners to engage in activities to stimulate further connections, deeper thoughts, higher learning, greater creativity, and better bridges among peers? What have you gained? How are you different because of the experience? How might you use your new insight as a seed for something greater still?
Is your learner a reader? Does he or she truly feel a part of a community of readers? Does your learner live with adults who are readers? What other activities, thoughts and life challenges compete with reading for a place of importance in your learner’s life? What can you do to make reading a desired part of life… a solution for problems… a healthy retreat… for the learner and for others who nurture and model how to live? How can you help to foster a reading culture where books become as natural as breathing? Can you? You can. Think outside the book.