Friday, October 16, 2009

My Life As a Reader!

I love to read, I always have. I am a slow reader though. I can remember this really bothering me growing up because everyone always finished before I did. It's not that I had trouble decoding or with my fluency, and I comprehended and synthesized really well. A number of years ago I finally became a skilled enough reading teacher that I could figure out what had caused me to be so slow. I spend a lot of time while I am reading visualizing the story - probably too much time, but its what helps me glean the most from the story. I think every single one of my elementary report cards said "Susan daydreams too much in class...". Well duh, it wasn't that I was thinking about something other than what the teacher was teaching - its that I was busy making mental images of what I was trying to learn!

Let's face it, most of what I read is professional literature, I just don't seem to be able to find the time for much else. Reading professionally as an educator is essential for professional growth and is a huge part of my job - its work. My real love though, is fiction, and more specifically stories full of intrigue or mystery. Reading fiction is like an escape for me, like taking a mini vacation. Unfortunately I can only allow myself this luxury every once and a while because the reading consumes me. I get lost in the story imagining what the characters and setting look like. If I happen across a series I get in to you can just forget about me until I have them all read. I forget time and start neglecting things around me like dishes, laundry, eating and even sleep! I'm beginning book 7 in a series of 9 books I am completely engrossed in right now - and I just started reading 12 days ago! I will hate to see the end of the series come and wait very impatiently for the author to write another. My family will jump for joy because I will finally return from my extended vacation...
What's your life as a reader like?


Suzanne said...

I'm a reader, too. I make it a priority to read for pleasure, not only because I love it, but because, as an educator, I can't teach kids to love it unless I'm willing to share my own passion for being swept up in a good book.

Recently, I've found myself studying the books from a writer's perspective, too, and admiring the author's craft in the text. Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah are current favorites.

Interestingly, I was a very poor reader in elementary school, but became hooked on books when I found a just right author for me in middle school. Reading in a series always appeals to me as well.

Can't wait to hear how others respond.

Happy Reading!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am the same in many ways, but different in many ways as well. I think that I might be the slowest reader on the planet, but it sure isn't because I am trying to imagine the characters, setting, and plot twists in a story.

I have never connected with fiction, and that made reading in school very difficult (still does---current PD book to be precise). My first real joyous reading was found on the backs of baseball cards. I loved the statistics and the odd facts that were presented. I still remember that Ralph Garr's nickname was the Roadrunner, beacause that info was on the back of his Topps 1973 baseball card.

I soon graduated to books about "Great White Hunters" who roamed Africa in the late 1800s. These were true stories full of information about rifles and animals and such. I learned why a 10 guage gun is a 10 guage (ten balls the diameter of the bore could be made from one pound of lead-12 for a 12 gague).

After that, it was motorcycles and old cars. Again, books filled with numbers and statistics. I could sit for hours and think about what 465 SAE net horsepower would do when backed by a 727 Torqueflite.

More recently, it has been historical pieces like Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (do not read this if you have any kind thoughts of Christopher Columbus), Lies My Teacher Taught Me, and Company Aytch (the best personal Civil War narrative ever penned).

I read these slowly, and I truly love piecing the story and the statistics together. I guess all of this makes me quite odd as an elementary educator.

Well, I have to go, fascinating stuff on the History Channel about WW II aircraft...

Peace and Happy Reading to All!


Ms. Symons and Ms. Wickert said...

I love to read as well. It definitely is an escape for me. My brother is an 8th grade gifted ELA teacher (he's not gifted, his students are....just wanted to add that in case he reads this!!!) and his wife is an ELA teacher as well. They give me a list every few months of books that I have to read. I definitely tend to favor fiction as well. One of my ultimate goals one day is to write a day!!! Katie

Angela Phillips said...

Well, I felt like I was reading about myself just now. I have always been the same type of reader, moving slowly through the text to continually reflect on and develop my mental images of what is happening in a story. I get myself frustrated sometimes, rereading what I have just read to make my thoughts more clear- the perfectionist in me. Several months back, I finished the Twilight series, which I was addicted to as I was working my way through it. My family also applauded when I finished (as I sat depressed that it was over) because I was finally returning to the real world of paying more attention to my semi-neglected family and home. I am afraid to ask what 7 book series you are in as it could get me back into more trouble, but I might get so curious that I have to ask......... I, too, get to visit fiction only once in a "New Moon". :-)

Anonymous said...

I love to read. Every night as a child my father had a routine. He would tuck my older sister into bed first, and then he would come tuck me in. I would take longer because he had to sit down and listen to me read. Even as I got older, I still read to him, and he read to me. I think that is why I expect my students to read orally and be read to at any age!
I think I like to teach reading, so that I can share what I do as a reader. All the comments that our family has mentioned. Visualizing, rereading, thinking...
I have always enjoyed realistic fiction and poetry. I want that happy ending an poetry is limitless. I have learned that I also must expose my students to the world of non-fiction. I enjoy sharing autobiographies, biographies, and history. It is amazing what they aren't aware of.
Reading and writing go hand in hand in my world. So reading non-fiction opens the door for writing non-fiction.
I am either reading professional literature, a happily ever after grown-up book, or a childrens' book.
Love to read,

Mrs. Metzger and Mrs. Morris said...

I remember my third grade teacher turning off the classroom lights and reading to us every day after lunch. It was The Littles series. Could be why fiction is my favorite. Who knows? Mary Higgins Clark is my favorite author and I've read every one of her books. I love the suspense genre but without any gory details please!
Lori M.

Melanie Holtsman said...

I have always been a good reader and loved reading in school, but my true love affair with word and language began with my fifth grade teacher reading aloud: Where the Red Fern Grows. I literally could not wait every day until it was time for her to read. I fell in love with the story, characters and language of that author.

My life as a reader now does include professional literature, but not as much as it used to. Most of my reading professionally is done online through blogs and websites. I can almost completely catch up with the news daily on my iphone apps. So, when I actually wrap my hands around a book it is fiction. The busier and crazier my life gets, I still carve out time to read my books. I NEED it for escape from the craziness around me. I don't read for long periods but you can find me reading each day when I dry my hair, sit at stoplights, wait at the dance studio and sit in the tub at night. And...I find a series as addictive as you do.

Dorry Lopez said...

My life as a reader: I just couldn't live without books! As a child, I really didn't read books other than the basals that I read in school. There was always work to be done and not much time for "down time". I, too, Susan think that I am a slow reader because I am making those mind-movies like you and visualizing. I am also analzying everything I read, because that is just the kind of person I am. I taught myself how to be proficient in spelling and language by studying what my mentor authors did in their books. I have always read like a writer and fell in love with the words on the pages. I study the way authors craft their writing, because one day I want to write a book. I am mostly a nonfiction reader. I have so much to learn that I can't find the time to read much fiction. I love children's literature because I missed out on reading this when I was younger, and also, I want to be in touch with what my students are reading. I love reading and writing poetry. I think that my first book that I will write will be a book of poems. Another genre I like is biographies. I am fascinated when I read about people's lives. Books are my friends. I am never without a book right next too me.

Dorry Lopez-Sinclair

Anonymous said...

Ah, the joy of reading a good book! I personally enjoy historical fiction - anything set in Victorian England, late 1800's and early 1900's. Propriety ruled and I am fascinated by the way women responded to the social mores that were placed upon them.

I love a story filled with multiple plot lines, intrigue and strong, vibrant characters with whom I can relate. Since I am surrounded by men in my family, I tend to gravitate toward female protagonists and I usually relate best to the first-born female in the family. (I am one!)

I am a fast reader and rarely look at the pictures in a book. I love the written word. Numbers were never my thing. I much preferred spelling and grammar over computations of any kind.

During the summer months when life is much calmer, you will find me curled up with a good book (and it's usually one in a series!) It's the only time I can read without setting myself up for a mutiny at home.

Dee Dee

Jenny said...

Thank you for this post! This is one of my biggest priorities in my classroom and with my baby girls. I want them to LOVE reading - I want them to become addicted to it, like my grandmother, my mother, and many other adults in my life. I, like many people, often (read: almost always) feel the crunch of chores, school work, mommy time, etc. and don't "allow myself" the time I'd like to indulge. But, there is evidence of my love all over my house...stacks, and stacks, and shelves, and shelves, and baskets and baskets of BOOKS. Books I've read, books I am reading (I often read multiple at a time, depending on purpose) and I books I intend to read "someday". I buy books (obviously) when I don't need to...and I love them. I'm sick that way. I'm not a library lover...I like to own them so I can revisit them and share them with my friends and family. ...and right now, I'm noticing that I have a lot more to say about this than is appropriate for a comment...perhaps I'll post about this on my blog. I'll share the linky later! :) @Dee Dee - You should read Amanda Eyre Ward books. She writes about female protagonists and has a lot of multiple plot lines that piece together unexpectedly in the end -- and she's a good'ol Texas girl, so I like her! :)

Karen Willett said...

I too have been a slow visual reader. Perhaps some of this is because my father would make up a story every night before bed about the magic woods. There was always adventure and intrigue. He kept us wanting more and we had to visualize the story in our head! Reading was always hard and laborious for me and it wasn't until high school when my best friend and I would spend summer days reading to each other. This was an eye opener for me. The written word spoken through my friends voice and suddenly I started to get it! I wanted to be a better reader!