by Donalyn Miller; Teri Lesesne
I can still remember learning to read. I can picture the covers of my first school reading books to this day. From age five, I have loved and valued reading. Reading has led me to marvelous adventures, thoughts that provoke, information and facts and more. I still remember the delight of my first Nancy Drew book and then devouring the series. I have NEVER stopped reading, no matter what else has gone on around me.
Today, reading competes with many other diversions for kids. Of course, there are screens and more. However, part of the problem, as these authors note is that the teaching of reading has not encouraged joy in kids. Instead, reading is a challenge or chore. There are too many rote tasks involved and often projects that do not excite. The authors, who are widely and deeply experienced, have many thoughts on this.
One solution put forward in this book is to set the conditions to help children to read what they want. Let them discover the books that speak to them and not always be performance based. I know that in my tutoring, along with teaching phonics, I want to read stories to the kids that are about their interests and that will leave them wanting more. I know that with my two children, I did not care what they read so long as they read. Trips to bookstores and libraries were highlights for them and me.
This book is for those who teach reading but there are lessons for all of us in these pages. I love the quotes throughout the book, beginning with the very first by Roxane Gay. It is inspiring to remember what reading brings to people.
Some section headings give an idea of the authors’ focus. These include Joyful Reading Relies on Abundant Access and Time; Joyful Reading Encourages Readers’ Choices; Joyful Reading Honors Readers’ Responses; and, Joyful Reading Thrives in a Supportive Community. Throughout there are quotes from students that bring the text to life. Also, keep an eye out for the illustrations with book stacks; there are lots of good suggestions here.
Those who currently teach, those who aspire to teaching, student teachers, all will benefit from a deep dive into this wise text. The generosity of the author’s in sharing their personal experiences with reading adds so much to this book. It offers an engaging and thoughtful experience.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Heinemann publishing for this title. All opinions are my own.
This book will be published on 03 May 2022.