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My Reading Pleasures: My Self, My Child, My Family, My Students

My Reading Pleasures: My Self, My Child, My Family, My Students

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Published by: olsonjen on Jun 23, 2009
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06/22/2009

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—Margret Echols—
PREKINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Most of Margret’s teaching experience for the last nineyears has been with prekindergarten students. At present, she is also working with kindergartners in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers of McDuffieCounty, Georgia.Margret recalls that class time in the seminar never seemed to be long enough:
Often before class would begin, we would write on theboard quotes from our readings that we wanted to sharewith the class. This proved to be wonderful “sampling” time. I can remember scrambling to write down all thewords and phrases that spoke to me and realizing that I needed to find a central place to keep these words and phrases alongside ones I’d discovered in my own reading journeys, so that I could visit them again and again. Itwas like a box of assorted chocolates being placed in thehands of a “chocoholic,” enticing me to sample so manyother books that were being devoured by other readers.
Margret’s favorite reading from the Readers as Teachers and Teachers as Readers seminar was E
LLEN 
OSTER 
by Kaye Gibbons (1987) because it touched all her emotions. Margret was captivated by the main character,Ellen, who stole her heart.
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CHAPTER 12
My Reading Pleasures:My Self, My Child, My Family,My Students
Margret Echols
What is that thing?You hold tight in your handThat takes youTo some other landWhat is that thing?Reflecting in your eyes,Spilling from your lipsWeaving through your mind.Swiftly your eyes cross each line,Your fingers lift page after pageA rhythm in timePages, pictures, wordsThey speak loudlyWith hardly a soundEyes focusedFingers twitchingHeart poundingLaughs, sighs, and tearsWhen it’s not openIt’s close to your heart.Please share itI simply must knowAbout that thing you hold in your hand.
H
ave you ever watched someone who is engaged in reading a book? It is so amazing to see a reader so totally engrossed inwhat he or she is reading. I tried to capture this image in the
 
poem above. Sometimes you see it in the reader’s eyes as he peersabove the top of the book, in the tension in his forehead, or in thefluid movements of his lips as they pore over every word. You cantell that the reader is held captive to the words on the pages,completely unaware of the surrounding world.It is these very reading pleasures that I long for when I seeothers reading and when I am reading a book of my own. These arealso the very pleasures I want my husband, my children, and mystudents to know and thirst for.I love to read. I love children’s books. I love books that makeme cry and make me laugh. I love books that make me question.As a teacher in an elementary school, I see struggling readers allthe time. For them, reading is a chore. I see children that can’t readbut want to. I see children that can read but don’t. This tragedyinspires me as a prekindergarten teacher to lead every one of myvery young students to experience the joy a book can bring. I amconstantly trying to figure out how I can spark their interest inbooks and, more important, in reading, especially as they becomeready for more formal reading instruction.My own reading unexpectedly inspires me. The followingexcerpt from
 Ellen Foster 
by Kaye Gibbons (1987) is a goodexample:
I could lay here all night. I am not able to fall asleep withoutreading. You have that time when your brain has nothingconstructive to do so it rambles. I fool my brain out of that bymaking it read until it shuts off. I just think it is best to dosomething right up until you fall asleep. (p. 10)
I realize that looking at myself as a reader leads me to realizeways of being a model for my students. I want to find out what mychildren think about this thing called reading and if they see me asa reader. Making myself more visible as a reader could be a way forme to better communicate my love of reading with them. Iremember my mother and my grandmotherhaving books in our home, visiting the library,and reading to me. I also had a special friendwho could read faster than I did, so I got her toread to me. I was envious of her ability to read
 122
Echols
My own readingunexpectedlyinspires me.

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