Last year, I had a goal to read 150 books. The number seemed somewhat arbitrary. That said, I know that over the past few years, I’ve read between 100 and 200 books, so 150 seemed like a reasonable goal. On December 31st, I was excited to post that I exceeded my goal and read 161 books in 2022 — and so many wonderful ones at that!
Those that know me, know my love of reading. Reading brings me joy. It always has!
When I was younger, my mom read to my sister and I every night. We moved from listening to storybooks to listening to chapter books. I still remember her reading us, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Books have always been a huge part of my life. My mom, dad, and step-dad were all big readers. While my mom loved fiction, my dad loved bridge (card game) books and newspapers, and my step-dad loved newspapers, mysteries, and suspense novels, we always spent time with text in our hands.
I still remember when my grandmother came down to visit from Nova Scotia, and she used to take my sister and I out shopping. My favourite place to go was the bookstore. This was during the time when bookstores were Coles at the mall, and even at three-years old, I could spend hours flipping through storybooks. My grandmother got an employee to watch me, and I would sit down and look through tons of books, while my sister and grandmother went shopping for shoes and clothes. I don’t think that I could really read at that time, but it was through looking at pictures and retelling familiar stories that I found joy in books.
When I started school, I was determined to grow up to be a teacher and an author. I might not have written a book yet, but I have met my author goals through this blog, and that brings me just as much joy.
I share these stories because I’m now in the unique position of being a Reading Specialist with our Board. With all of the new learning around the Science of Reading, it’s easy to spend a lot of time thinking and talking about phonics. There’s definitely a lot of value in rethinking how we’re teaching decoding skills and how we’re targeting instruction for students. Every Reading Specialist PD session that I attend at the Board though, reminds me that phonics is just one piece of the puzzle. This should not be our whole day and/or our whole literacy block. Even though it was so important for me as a young child to learn how to decode unknown words, I think it was those long blocks of time on the floor, surrounded by books, playing with new vocabulary, and making sense of text in different ways, that helped me develop a love of reading. As I now work on planning some staff PD sessions for after the Break, I continue to think about this bookstore time (as a young child), and my hours reading now on a sofa, in bed, on a stationary bike, and occasionally as I walk around the house or get items organized at school (apparently I can walk and read 🙂 ) …
How are we giving students their own floor-of-the-bookstore moments? As educators, in addition to teaching kids the code that will allow them to read in the first place, we want to inspire and nurture that love of reading, which will have them finding joy in texts even when there’s no requirement to read them.