Updated: Mar 5, 2019
A peek into my lifelong love of reading and the journey that led me here
I don't know when it started. I can't remember what the first book was, but all I need to know is that sharing a book with me at storytime was important enough for my mom to stop what she was doing and read. Was it a bedtime routine or a middle of the afternoon treat? I can't say. But I can tell you it set me up to be a reader for life.
As soon as I learned how to read, I became a voracious consumer, devouring any books I could find and storytime was a distant memory. I didn't need my mom to read for me anymore. And independence is great, but this reading independently wasn't always necessarily a good thing. I spent my days and nights with my nose in a book and probably missed out on a lot of normal social interaction with my family. And because I had read everything age appropriate for myself by the time I was 10, it led me to reading "Teen/ Young Adult" material WAY before I was ready to handle it, but the escape that I found in those books allowed me to create a completely different world than the one I was living in, which came in handy sometimes.
But at some point it all stopped... I don't know if it was because of the required school reading or the increase in afterschool activities, but I stopped reading for fun. I didn't have time for that anymore. When I began my teaching career though, my love for reading aloud and sharing stories was renewed. I read to my class as much as I could during storytime. We shared silly stories and serious stories, books that made us think and books that made us cry. And we used those stories to create opportunities for more learning and more fun.
And then NCLB came in to play and Common Core was introduced and it no longer mattered if you were reading a book that made you laugh or think or cry. All that mattered was if you could show the progress in your students' AR points and prove what Common Core standard tied in with your activity and so, I stopped reading again.
But what I realized is that I was changed by those early reading experiences and my students were changed when I got to share those early reading experiences with them and if I don't continue to share them, the world might miss out on the books that make you laugh and the stories that make you cry and the ones that make you look at life differently than you did before. And they'll miss out on the fun. And couldn't we all use a little more fun? I know I could. So I'll be sharing all of the crazy ideas I used to use in my classroom with books and some new ones I've cooked up recently and I hope that they inspire someone somewhere to have the fun that storytime was meant to be.