When I reflect on my years as a classroom teacher, I think about my students as individual learners. I spent a lot of time reflecting about teaching and learning this summer. It became clear to me that 2 types of readers have passed through my life.
The 2 types include those who get lost in books and those who read until the timer goes off. In fact, the two different types of readers are represented in my own house as well.
My 9 year old son is a good reader, but he reads approximately 25 - 30 pages a day with a timer in his hand. When the timer goes off, he happily drops the book. He won't pick up another book until I remind him about what research says about summer lag the next day.
This summer, I'm collaborating with some of our 5th and 6th grade teachers and our Instructional Support Team to re-read The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. I have read this book six times and each time it leaves me reflecting on different ways to reach our young readers.
The first step for me (although I'll admit that it is painful) is accepting the fact that not all readers are born with a natural love for books. The second step as a teacher (and a mom) is to let what we know about the reader and the books they choose "whisper" (as Donalyn Miller says) to us so we can support them as readers. The third step is to never give up hope.
I'm hopeful that my son will soon fall in love with a series or genre so much so that he no longer feels the need to read for only 20 or 30 minutes. Until then, I'll keep modeling a love for reading. I'll keep exposing him to different authors, genres and series. Most importantly, I'll let the choices he makes whisper to me so I can support him even if it is for only 25 - 30 pages a day (for now).