Do you ever have reading emergencies? I do all the time! But didn’t know what to call them until I started reading Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller.
Donalyn describes Reading Emergencies as “those unexpected moments when you are stuck somewhere longer than you planned.” Actually, it was her husband who said this!
I understand these emergencies completely! I find those times where I have a few moments of waiting and I cannot just sit there and stare. I have to be reading something! Anything…posts on my phone, professional books, personal reads, something.
You see, I was one of THOSE readers she talks about in her book, Reading in the Wild. I was what you would call a Wild Reader. I would carry a book with me all the time and I snuck in reading any time that I could.
I would read the cereal box or milk carton in the mornings. I was not capable of just sitting there eating. I had to read something!
I want to take that passion for reading and transfer it to my struggling readers. The idea of reading in moments of stolen time (waiting at the doctor’s office, in the car, at bedtime (my absolute favorite time as a child and now) is foreign to most of my students. That makes me so sad.
So I must teach them to how to find those moments. I must be intentional about pointing these times out to them. The whole purpose of my teaching is for students to take reading FROM the school and apply it to their lives OUT of school. Otherwise, I am not building lifelong readers!
Reading in the Wild as re-motivated (is this a word?) me to stoke this fire again for my students. I am a realist. A practical person. I know most of my students do not read at home. They don’t have the stamina, the knowledge of how to carve out minutes from their day, or the motivation.
But I can be intentional and show my students how to do this! Donalyn recommends talking to your students about where you find extra moments to read. Then let your students make a list of times they could have read that week if they had brought a book with them. Their list might look something like this:
I think a key point that Donalyn makes (she is so smart!) is having the students have conversations with each other about when they read. Also, where they read. When students hear where their friends are reading and when, it may spark the thought they that could do that too! After all, isn’t that what we do as adults? We TALK to each other about the books we read and where we read them. Let’s teach students to do authentic, real world reading. Not reading logs, dioramas, and such. But Real World Reading. Enjoying books and wondering why characters acted the way the did, and having conversations with friends who love reading too!