Life-long Learning

Just Try… I Bet You Can’t

I love this video…. It is a great argument for kids or teens who say “they don’t like to read.

Check it out.

Do Not Read This

I don’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. Some of my earliest memories involve reading Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat and Red Fish Blue Fish as a kid. I’m almost positive my early “reading” was really only pretending to read my favorite books, as I recited the words I had memorized that went with the pictures on each page. It turns out, these early reading behaviors form the foundation we will build upon as we begin to read in Kindergarten and 1st grade. These behaviors include: understanding how books are organized (e.g. beginning, middle, end), that written text has a direct relationship with the words we speak, that pictures in a book support and inform the words to build the story… Kids seek repetition (just how many times can you read the same book?) because their small brains are building connections between the words and pictures on the page and the words we speak and the stories we tell.

Reading is a skill many of us take for granted. And yet, if you think about it–it’s really truly amazing all that needs to happen in the brain for it all to work! It’s a gift we should honor and celebrate.

If I were teaching now, I’d integrate this video into a unit on the power or reading in which I get students talking about why strong literacy skills are important. When I talk about reading, I’m not just talking about decoding, I’m talking about being able to deconstruct a wide variety of texts, and being able to synthesize and evaluate what you read. In the past, I’ve had students read a diverse range of famous authors, most noteable among the reading would be an excerpt from The Autobiography of Malcolm X, where he talks about teaching himself to read, in prison no less. In it he says reading gave him a sense of freedom he had never experienced in his life.

Being able to read is truly a gift. It connects us to a larger community, spurs the imagination and expands our consciousness. I will never forget the time in college that I finally discovered Alice Walker and read In Search of Our Mother’s Garden. Through her writings, I learned of scores of Harlem Renaissance writers I had never known existed. The world of reading opened up for me.

Related Reads: Great Books to Read to Your “Big Kids”, Looking for More Great YA Books?, 3 Great Ways to Foster Ravenous Readers

It is important to talk with our kids about the gift of reading. Do you remember learning how to read? What are your earliest memories? How do you talk with your kids or students about the gift of reading?


One thought on “Just Try… I Bet You Can’t

  1. I love this Alison! I was just thinking about literacy last night and how we’re pretty lucky in this country that most of us can read, when just several decades ago that wasn’t always the case. It goes to show how literacy can really improve your way of life.

    I don’t remember how I learned to read or even at what age. I’m a huge proponent of getting kids to learn how to read and to enjoy it at an early age. My eldest read at 3yo and even though it’s not a requirement or even expected at that age, I can tell it has helped him enjoy reading much more.

    We read every day, including to my toddler twins. Reading is one of those things where literally if I was in the middle of doing some Important Thing, I will always stop and read to them. I want to send the message that this is that important that mom will stop whatever she’s doing to read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *