A few conversations I've just recently had have made me think a lot about the importance of helping children establish real reasons to read. I recently visited a classroom where students were propped up all over the room reading. Just out of curiosity I asked several students to tell me why they were reading. As if I were asking members the literary critics league, students responded with a variety of reasons for their text choices. One student said, "I'm reading this because I've already read the first four books in this series." Another said, "My brother read this last year and told me some about it, so now I finally get my turn." And another student said that he had gotten the book recommendation from the classroom twitter board (which was really a pocket chart with notecards posted as tweets about books being read in the class). Most amazingly these students were 4th graders, the wise old age of 9! I've come to ask this same question in every classroom I visit. I continue to be amazed that students from kindergarten through high school, when nurtured in an environment where their voices and choices are valued do have REAL reasons for reading and have been given the platform to share the books they are reading!
So the question is - how can we help others establish this real reading community in their classrooms and create a frenzy of reading rather than continuing with the antiquated idea that students are reading because the teacher told them to and/or students reading for some extrinsic motivation?
I go back to then, what do I want for my own children? I want my children to choose to read. I want my children to be engaged in a community of readers who read, and talk about what they are reading, and to be engaged in rigorous thinking about their world.