Why should a teacher read?
*You should read because you deserve it! (Most important reason!) Reading is an escape from stress and daily duties - a chance to renew, relax, and perhaps even learn something new!
*You want to get your students to love reading and become lifelong readers. You do want that, right? Of course you do! Students learn much more from what they see us doing than from what we tell them they should do. If you are not a lifelong reader yourself, your lessons about the love of reading will not resonate the way they would if you already are the kind of reader you are asking your students to become.
How to find time to live your life as a reader
*Look at reading as the pure pleasure that it can be, and promise yourself some reading time when another "must do" task is complete. Do one load of laundry and then read. Mark one set of papers and then read for 15 minutes, finish entering ALL your report card grades or online data and then grab an hour of guilt-free reading.
*Pull the shades or close the blinds in your classroom for 15 minutes of your "duty-free" lunch time. Put your feet up and sink into a good book. You know that if you venture out into the staff lounge or workroom, someone will find you with something for you to do.
*Give up one email checkpoint during the day and choose to read instead. The emails will still be there later. Read a professional book and call it "PD" if you're feeling even the tiniest bit guilty. *Read a book that you may be interested in as a read-aloud or as a recommendation for your students. Thoroughly enjoy it yourself first so that you can talk about it with passion and delight! Oh, and call it lesson planning if you need an excuse, because that's exactly what it is. Your having read it first will enrich that lesson immeasurably!
*Mark up your lesson plan book with formative assessment stopping points that you know kids can peer correct or self-correct and then reflect on. You do not have to let EVERY. SINGLE. PAPER pass through your golden hands. Students will retain information better if they have to actually think about why they have responded the way they did, and what they know about the concept. Use your paper-marking time at home (or on your prep period if you have one) that very day to read! You will be amazed at how much time can actually be freed up by putting some of the responsibility for assessment in the hands of your students!
*Join a book club in your class. Each time you switch book club units, randomly select a group that you will officially join. You need to prepare for that group in the same way that you have asked students to prepare, so of course you need to read that book! You may find yourself magically switching up some of the expectations too, once you experience them from the "other side"!
*Join a real-life book club with your "friends on the outside" - real, breathing grownups who enjoy reading. If you can't find an existing book club, start one! The conversation, laughter, and fun will become just an important part of your life as reading. And...it's a great excuse to eat chocolate and maybe even a little (just a little) wine.
*Start a professional book club at work, within your school or within your district. Ditto on the laughter and stimulation found in any adult book club!
*If you must, join an online book club. I've tried this a couple of times with professional reads, but couldn't type fast enough while eating chocolate and drinking wine. For book clubs, I prefer to be in the same room with my friends. Your choice, though...could you please pass the caramels?
*Book Clubs, no matter where or how you participate, keep you accountable. We're teachers! We never want to seem as though we aren't prepared, so of course we'll keep reading that book before the club meets!
MOST IMPORTANT TAKE-AWAY Never ever ever ever ever keep reading a book you don't like. Never. Ever. Never ever ever....etc...ask a student to keep reading a book he/she does not like. There are far too many books and far too little time for that. In my opinion, reading a book that you do not like is the surest way to kill a love of reading, or to make sure that a love never grows in the first place!
Enough blog reading! Go grab a book! I am currently reading EVERYTHING Liane Moriarty has ever written. As she says, "I am meant to do this!" Love!
You may also like:
For more blog posts about what real teachers really do, click here: