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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Building Our Lives As Readers

Even though I'm a reading teacher, and I absolutely LOVE to read, I know that reading isn't always at its best.  Reading, quite frankly, can even be THE PITS at times!  As readers, it's important that we are aware of this, and identify what makes reading better or worse for us as individuals.  Once we've identified the problems, we can take steps to improve our lives as readers by fixing or avoiding these problems in the future.

In class this week, we found that many of us have similar pet peeves, or irritations, as readers.  For instance, reading can be rotten when...

  • noise (brothers and sisters, dogs, classmates, radios, etc) disrupts our reading.
  • we are uncomfortable. 
  • we are too tired.
  • we don't like the book we're reading.
  • the book is too hard for us.

But, there are lots of times when we've loved reading!!  We all seemed to agree that reading is the best when...

  • we can see the story in our mind (mind movie).
  • we feel like the characters are real, perhaps even friends of ours!
  • we can talk about the book we're reading with other people.
  • we can read without interruptions.
  • we can read the words with ease and speed.
  • we are interested in the topic/genre/author.

Understanding and noticing the patterns in what makes reading a good or bad experience for us is the first step to improving our lives as readers.  If we know what ruins reading for us, we can take steps to correct or improve those things so reading at its best!

For instance, if we know that we cannot tune out noises easily and distractions make reading unenjoyable, then we can make it a priority to choose a place where we can read away from interruptions.  If we know that being forced to read a specific book puts a bad taste in our mouths, then we should make every effort to choose appropriate books for ourselves so no one else feels the need to choose for us.  If we know that reading books that are challenging frustrate us, then we must be certain that every book is a good fit for us when we read independently.

Good readers are in charge of their own lives as readers.  The first step to being this kind of good reader means being aware of ourselves as readers -- our preferences and our peeves.

Readers, what is something you've learned about yourself as a reader this week?  What do you need for reading to be at its best?  What are you doing to prevent reading from being at its worst?  

Leave a comment answering these questions.  I can't wait to hear from you!


  1. I do know what books I like best and what I need for reading to be at its best. I've also learned that what that means for me isn't what it means necessarily for others. For years, I read my children the books I liked. Recently, I've learned to choose books they like. As a reader, I need silence, but I've started to accept that my children like to (& can) read with (low) background music.

    1. That's so important to recognize what one reader needs isn't always the same as another! And at one time for me, that was hard to swallow! I've learned, though, that our needs are a reflection of our learning styles. I am a verbal/visual learner. I need to talk (listening isn't enough)and see something to understand. So, I too can read with low music, because listening isn't how I best process information. But talking and visuals (movement in my peripheral vision in particular) distract me. But my needs also change as the purpose for my reading changes. If I was studying a text closely or reading to learn something that was challenging, I think I am more sensitive to distractions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! They've sparked lots of new thoughts in my mind..... :)


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