Thursday, January 22, 2009

Being a Bibliophile is Contagious

Today I had an epiphany: my kids love reading. When I first arrived in September I had to cajole them into reading their story books. But soon I introduced my favorite childhood books (care of the most expensive care package ever--thanks Mom and Dad!) and had them reading along with me. Then they were begging for their favorites. When they have free time to color or play board games in class (all cleverly disguised learning games) I always read a book. Since everything I do seems to be the height of cool to my six year old kids, reading a book became very cool too.

A scene from earlier this week:
Student: Alex teacher, What are you reading?
Me: Shows them the book and reads the title.
Student: ....No pictures?
Me: Look, no pictures but Lots of words. You make up the pictures in your head! Use your imagination!
Student: Huh.
Me: It's fun!
Student: Maybe...*scurries off to play with friends*

Today after lunch, I said what I say everyday: "After you brush your teeth, you may read, color or play." They almost always choose to color or play. One of my little boys (who used to hate reading), looked bored. So I asked him if he wanted one of the class books. He told me no but could he have "Going on a Bear Hunt" instead. I hesitated because my private stash of stories lives in my desk since they are all between 20 and 30 years old and not holding up so well. However, "Going on a Bear Hunt" is in pretty good shape and it's not often a little boy Wants to read when he doesn't have to. Soon, everyone was clamoring to have their favorite and working through them on their own or with a friend. Somehow, I managed to transfer not only my love of books to these kids but also, how to treat them because as I'm always saying "books are special." Not a single page got torn or wrinkled.

I think I may buy some more kids books. We just got a library at the school but it doesn't have all the classics. I can always save them for my kids (or my brother's kids). How can I not want to help their passion for reading? It's something that will carry them through their life. I'm obsessed with the written word and it's hard not to want to pass on that passion. I'm being a bit cheesy but it doesn't make it less true.


Jessica said...

This is awesome! Huzzah! I really ought to read more. I've been a bum this whole break, watching TV and playing on my computer. I just haven't had the focus. Oh and in possibly good news Rob met a photographer at a after bar-mitvah party at the gym. Rob helped the guy get the best shots at the party and he watched how Rob is with people and by the end asked rob if he wanted some extra work. Now I know, don't get out hopes up but they exchanged numbers and the next morning he texted Rob asking if he had a website or flicr and Rob sent a text back saying he was setting up a flicr but he hadn't made his photography his priority. So Rob set up the flicr but even before he could send this guy the address he offered Rob a event in May to do some shooting for awesome pay. I have to say I miss you a lot sometimes. Hence the rambling story above. Have fun teaching your Bibliophiles in training.

Josh said...

What a wonderful entry! I'm glad that you have passed reading on to a new generation..... also i'm very impressed with the shear completeness of your control over these children!!!!!!

Alex said...

Jess-awesomeness about the job for rob! lots of snooty photographers frown on doing event photography but it really pays well. i miss you too. i have lots of friends here but no one i'm close to like i am with the folks back home.

Josh-Thanks for the compliments Josh! Glad you enjoyed the entry.

Rachel said...

I think that your love of reading is so awesome. We always bought Adam any book he wanted, but not always every game. When he started to get his own allowance, he started having to buy his own video games. But, if he wanted a players guide, which is a book, we bought it for him. It amazes me how many people don't read for pleasure, or for learning, or even just to be able to read instructions. Thank you for passing on such a precious gift to these children. For if they learn to love reading now, they will love it for a lifetime.

By the way, I am faithfully reading your entries, even if I don't always write.

More on the Kindle: IF you get Sprint cell phone reception, then you don't have to go to to download the books. You can get them immediately downloaded to the Kindle. Otherwise, you would download them to your computer, and use a USB cable to load them to the Kindle. So, living in Weaverville with lousy Sprint connection, Dana downloads through Amazon. But, if he knows he is going into Asheville, with Sprint service, then he will download them there. Other than that, he seems to be enjoying the Kindle.

Alex said...

Thanks for the kindle advice Aunt Rachel. I might do that when I get back to the states BUT my phone is ebook compatible. I have to figure out how to use it and all but it works alright for reading with. For now though, I'm continuing to haunt What the Book for my favorites. The thing about ebooks is that they are never on sale and you can never get them used!

My parents always let me get whatever I wanted at the library. I hear horror stories about kids being told what they can and can't read and shudder. Reading is part of how I learned about the world.

Nancy K said...

You always had very good taste in books, mixed with lighter books but as you said, we never told you what you had to read, or couldn't read. Independent reading and love of reading was our goal. We even stood on line in East Hampton so that you could get an autographed book. Don't remember who the author was, but you loved it. By the way, Neal Gaimon(sic) just got a Newberry award, and if I remember correctly you loved him when you were younger.