Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lifelong Readers

Question: What are some characteristics of lifelong readers?

Answer/Quote: “Lifelong readers do not pick up books to get better at reading; they pick up books to hear a great story, to escape the reality of their daily existence or find information to help in their endeavors. The story becomes an end in itself, not requiring anything else to be done with it. In Better Than Life, Pennac (1990), offered Ten Rights of a Reader. Among them are the right to read anywhere, to read anything, to read out loud or silently, to skip ;pages, and the right to put down books that are no longer interesting. It is an important list to consider as we incorporate children’s and young adult literature into our classrooms. To Pennac’s wonderful list, we would add ‘the right not to have to do so much @#$%^&* before or after I read.’ ” P. 241.

Comment: Whoa, Nellie. Not so fast. The author might be referring to classroom before and after activities, especially someone else’s questions at the end, but speculating on the nature of the story beforehand through cover blurbs, titles and pictures, and reflecting on the story after it’s told are important in deepening the reader’s expectations and comprehension. And I could add some other “rights” of my own. Reading the first and last paragraphs of chapters in information books is a good preparation for reading. And when novels become boring as they almost always do during certain stretches, reading a paragraph per page maintains the continuity of plot until the reader’s interest is restored.  RayS.

Title: “Integrating Children’s Literature: When Bad Things Happen to Good Books.” Frank Serafini. The Reading Teacher (December 2011/January 2012), 238-241.

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