I generally am not a fiction reader. I don’t know when the transition happened for me, but I no longer enjoy reading a fictional story as much as I enjoy reading biographies, autobiographies, travel journals, and mainly books on education. Yes, I know how this sounds! But this past month I visited with a couple who started talking about a book they had both recently read and were now reading the second book in the trilogy. Both independently started a conversation with me at different points in the evening. They continued on about how it had captivated them. Perhaps it was the link to history that intrigued me or just the fact that they both mentioned the book, but the next day while I was out at a store I picked up the first book. Their book talk made me curious.
Immediately I became captivated. This historical piece of fiction really grabbed my attention and I found myself trying to steal moments in my crazy schedule to just sit and read. After putting the kids to bed, I would disappear. AND I found myself wanting to talk about the book as I read. I also found myself researching more about the historical parts of the text. I became involved.
This interaction I had with the book made me realize how our students want to have these same opportunities. As our beginning readers become more involved in story, they want to talk about it. Our youngest readers will re-read stories they enjoy. They want us to re-read the story as well to them. Our older students need the opportunity to connect and talk about the story. This makes the story alive.
Maybe not all of our students have that internal motivation yet. But providing opportunity to allow them to talk about the thoughts they are having about a book helps them to be more engaged.
I encourage families to talk books with your kids. Not only modeling to them that you are a reader… (either electronically or with paper from emails to the latest news, we are all reading.) Talk about the stories and your reactions to the stories you read. And ask your child about the story they are reading. Dig into the details. Why do they enjoy it? Why do they think it is boring? Why has it interested them?
Providing that book talk encourages our students to see that reading is a life long event.
When I travel, I always notice how many people are reading. In airports, on planes, on trains, on city buses, on the subway, people carry their novels, Kindles and Nooks, magazines, and newspapers. This action of reading is life long. Begin today to set your own child on that journey. Have some book talk.