Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Need Independent Reading Time

It's really hard to do quality reading during the school year, especially if you're an English teacher and you have to stay on top of the texts you're reading with your students. Most evenings, it's all I can do to kick back with one of my dog-eared David Sedaris collections or the latest issue of New York or Time Out.

My students were doing independent reading today, and though most of them enjoy it (albeit secretly), a few complained strenuously about having to read. Now, true independent reading involves students reading--just reading--self-chosen texts, and that's how I roll. I maintain a sizeable classroom library for kids who don't have something of their own to read, and I'm happy to let kids read skateboarding magazines or comic books if that's what they're into.

And as I jotted down page counts and helped them choose books and conferred with them, I found myself feeling insanely, irrationally jealous. I need someone to sit me down, stare at me, and instruct me to do nothing but read for a period of time every day. And that person would say, "No, I will not assign you something. Here are several hundred books. You should choose one you like. No, don't write a paper about it. Just read." What a joy that would be. I hope that my students use the time to read something they enjoy and get some peace and pleasure from it. They don't have to admit it or be grateful for it, but I try very hard to at least make it not seem like a chore.

Ah, youth is wasted on the young, right?
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