Sunday, September 28, 2014

Reading: My Old Crush, so Why Am I so Fickle? #SundaySeries #SummerReading #BookTalkaDay

This post is part of the #SundaySeries blogging challenge on Lee Ann Spillane's blog, Portable Teacher.

I love reading and read every day, but I am in a reading slump and have been for quite some time. As do many teachers, I look forward to summer when I can read to my heart's content. That didn't happen this summer. Yes, I read but not as much as I normally read during the summer.

My reading slump runs deep and wide. That is, it endures, clinging to me like a recurring toe fungus. I know what has impacted my reading life--the same things that often keep students from reading. I began thinking about the reasons we find ourselves in a reading slump after a a couple of students dropped by my room and told me that this year 

I've rediscovered a love of reading. 

One added:

I loved reading when I was a kid but then I started hating reading.

Seeing students develop a love of reading and rekindling their relationship with an old reading flame encourages and drives me to work to overcome my reading slump. Simply, I must read if I am to share books with students. Right now, I'm not keeping up. 

Why do we find ourselves in a reading slump? Some of the reasons for my reading slump follow: 

  • Overworked: Last school year (2013-14) I spent nearly all my free time writing curriculum for the NEA Better Lesson Master Teacher Project. At the beginning of the school year, I asked my husband how I managed to do all that work. He responded: "I don't know. You came home, put your head down, and wrote for three or four hours nearly every day." I also spent at least one day each weekend working on the project and even devoted much of my vacation time to the work. 
  • Choice Overload: Believing that readers have books int he "on deck" circle, I encourage students to keep a TBR (To Be Read) list in their writing journals. However, w/ so many fabulous books available, I'm overwhelmed by choices. I start reading one book and find my attention diverted to another. A glimpse of my goodreads account reveals a list of 200 books on my "Want to Read" list, even though I add books sparingly. Simply, I rarely look back at this list and opt for a more recent book.
  • Social Networking: A paradox of social networking exists. Simply, I love seeing what others read and engaging in conversations w/ them about books, but I need to step away from the many platforms that keep me informed so that I can read for pleasure. That said, both goodreads and this blog have enticed me into committing to reading two books that might otherwise not register on my reading radar. I received both books free, one via a drawing that necessitated a commitment to read and discuss the book, the other via an email request for a review. 
  • Bogged Down in a Book: I rarely check books out of the library; however, I couple of months ago I requested a book not in the library's collection. The library purchased the book, which I have and have partially read. Had the book arrived before school started, I'd probably have it completed, but now I am bogged down in this book. Even though I like the writing style, the subject matter, the genre, I just can't get into it and feel guilty for having requested the book because my local library, as are most others, strapped for funds. The book is now long overdue, and I'll pay a hefty fine for my inability to finish the book in a timely manner. 
  • Priorities and Physical Factors: Dare I say it, but at times I'd prefer other forms of entertainment to reading. As sacrilegious as that sounds, it's true. I have poor eyesight. As I get older, my eyestrain has become more severe. By the end of the day, my vision blurs even w/ my glasses. At home I typically remove my glasses to read. I must hold the book very close to my face to see the words. This use to frustrate my parents and still confuses others. We typically don't think it's healthy for someone to hold a book two inches from one's face, but that's what I must do to read most books. Even at school, I must sometimes remove my glasses to read a passage with small typeface. 
  • Fickleness and Distractions: I'm a fickle reader. Simply, I cheat on books all the time but beginning a new one before finishing the one I committed to. I have 29 books in my "Currently Reading" folder on goodreads, but I actually have more than that going. I haven't added all the books into the list. I'm particularly easily distracted when reading professional books. These books often function more as reference books, but guilt consumes me when I haven't finished the hot new professional book du jour. I love professional literature by and for teachers. Currently, I have several recently published professional books awaiting my attention; I have begun reading them all. I just need to finish, but there's always another book I want to hang out with. Hence, my fickleness.
In time will overcome/recover from my reading slump. I began reading a lovely YA book this week and will soon finish it. It's a short text that will give me a sense of success and may pave the way to my finishing other books, perhaps even those with which I once had a crush that needs a little rekindling. 

#BookTalkaDay As this past week was Banned Book Week, I chose frequently challenged books for my daily book talks. Here's the list: 

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky


*I'm happy to report that all these books have been checked out and are now enjoying reading time w/ some of my seniors.