On Reading

Whenever I go on a plane, I always like to bring a book. I think it’s because my parents would always tell me to bring one to occupy myself when we would travel. However, I would never actually read the book. I would bring it along as extra weight in my backpack and reassurance that just in case I was SUPER bored, I could read. But I wouldn’t. 

Then, last Thanksgiving, my husband and I were flying from NYC to Indiana. As usual, I brought a book. This time, it was The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini. My little sister had given it to me in July but I had only read the first 5 pages. Again, on the way to Indiana, it stayed in my backpack, untouched the whole flight. But, on the way back to NYC, my husband was using my headphones and I was bored to the point where I decided to actually read. The more I read, the more I was drawn into this book. It was amazing! The vivid imagery, the captivating story of an Afghani boy growing up in the 1950s, I was enthralled. By the time we arrived in NYC, I was deep into the book and I knew that I had to finish it. 

I began reflecting more on my life as a reader. I have never been a reader. I hated reading all throughout my childhood, probably because it was forced onto me and then when I didn’t want to read, I felt dumb or inadequate. I would maybe find one book a year that would actually interest me. Once I started college, I just stopped trying to find a good book or read anything outside of my classwork. 

Then I became a teacher. Teaching is a job where you are constantly reflecting on your practice and thinking about the best way to teach your students and reach all learners. During the first few months of teaching, I started to think about myself as a reader. A huge part of second grade is reading. At this age, the kids are able to read. Some are working on practicing decoding words and others are reading chapter books. My school follows the Teacher’s College Curriculum. One of the foundations of TC is setting children up for a lifetime of reading success by allowing them to read books that interest them and allowing them to read in a place that is comfortable for them (which is what you end up doing as an adult i.e. reading before bed in your bed). So I thought to myself, how can I teach my students reading and good reading habits when I am not even doing them myself? I felt like a phony. I felt like I wasn’t being honest with my students which is something I try so hard to do. 

That’s when I decided to put more effort into my own reading. I made small goals at first like trying to finish The Kite Runner. Once I did that, I read another book by Khalid Hosseini (A Thousand Splendid Suns). By that point, 2019 was coming to end and I was thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. What did I want to accomplish as a reader? I didn’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself so I ended up putting down “read more.” This left a lot of room for my own interpretation and a lot of room for self-control and motivation. 

Fast-forward to now, I have been doing a pretty good job of maintaining my resolution. This year I have read 15 books. I took a small break from reading in May but I was able to get back on track in June. Before summer break started, I was talking to my little sister about making summer reading goals. She said to start by reading 10 books over two months, and see what happens. I decided to go for it! I am currently on my third book of the summer! I am reading The Reader by Berhard Schlink. I loved the movie so I am hoping to love the book too! Below is a list of the books I’ve read in 2020 and a few pictures of my favorite books! 

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
  2. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
  3. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan 
  4. The Pilot’s Wife by Anita Shreve 
  5. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
  6. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
  7. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  8. The Storytellers Secret by Sejal Badani 
  9. The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
  10. And the Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseini
  11. The Lying Game by Ruth Ware
  12. Verity by Colleen Hoover
  13. The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn 
  14. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (summer books) 
  15. The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

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