Monday, July 6, 2015

I Am A Reader

I am a reader, and I love to read!

I remember summer when I was little, sitting in my cool, dark bedroom, and spending an entire day reading. And actually, not "an entire day," more like "many entire days." I devoured books. Beatrix Potter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Zilpha Keatly Snyder, E.B. White, E.L. Konigsburg, and Elizabeth Enright were all favorite authors of mine. I read through all the Beverly Cleary Books, all the Nancy Drew Mysteries, and everything by Madeleine L'Engle. I read books by Betsy Byars, Ellen Raskin, Paula Fox, and Katherine Paterson. And more.

My favorite outing? A trip to the bookstore.
My favorite souvenir, no matter the tourist destination? A new book.
My favorite place to ride my bike? The library.

And I still love to read. So this year, as in years past, I set a goal for myself: 52 books in 52 weeks.

In January, I shared this goal with my students. I gleefully told them how excited I was to set this goal for myself, knowing that it would be a true challenge. I'm busy with many different things, and my students know that. I explained to them how important reading is to me, and how I choose to make it a priority, even though work, sleep, the gym, and household chores are always vying for my attention. Together we talked about setting goals and they set some of their own. We discussed progress every month or so during the school year, and then the school year ended, and they promised to read and let me know how they're doing over the summer.

My progress? Well, truthfully, I'm a bit behind. I've read 25 books so far, and today was the first day of the 28th week of 2015. But here's the deal: I've been busy. There has been a ton on my plate, including presentations, conferences, coursework to finish my Reading Certificate, work for National Board Certification, plus my children and laundry and travel and gymnastics meets and graduations that make up real life.

So! I'm calling it a win so far. There's still plenty of summertime left, and I've got a stack of books waiting for me! This is my "just for fun and pure pleasure" stack. I've got another collection of professional books that I'm just as eager to read!



Here are a few books that I've read so far:

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Loved it! And my favorite quote: "Determination showed up in the statistics."


One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni
I loved this one, too. This author is an amazing storyteller. I met her at a library reading in 2002 or so, and she was an absolute delight, as well.



Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
This book took me to a place unlike anyplace I've actually been. "All those lovely wrecked lives."



The Little Women Letters by Gabrielle Donnelly
Yes, I read Little Women when I was little, and this book was a fun reminder of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy!




The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I read this book in one sitting, thanks to my husband who just let me read and brought coffee and meals periodically.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
So many reasons to love this book! I am a big fan of historical fiction, and this just won the Pulitzer Prize. This was the second of four World War 2 books that I've read this year, and it is by far my favorite.



Miss Buncle's Book by D.E. Stevenson
This sweet story was a lovely break from the every day hassles that I was overwhelmed with during the month of May. Every time I sat down to read it, the stress of testing and report cards just melted away.



Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Wow. I really got lost in this story and the characters and their complications.



The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
I finished this book on the plane home from Philadelphia last week. It's another novel partially set in World War 2, and it had some nice twists and turns. Historical fiction works for me!



I've left out some books, mostly things I didn't love. But honestly, it's rare that I stumble upon a book that I don't at least like. I love the way that so many books give me something to think about. I find some way to relate to them, or I just enjoy the ride of a completely new experience.

Because I am a reader.

What are you reading this summer? What books will you recommend to help your students become readers, too?

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