I love reading Penny Kittle’s Book Love! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I had purchased this book two summers ago as I was trying to figure out the direction I wanted to go in my classrooms in regard to independent reading. I was completely hooked on this book after the first few pages! (And I will tell everyone that hasn’t read it before, you should re-read it again every year!)
I think the first thing that caught my eye when I read the book was when Kittle said that “…nonreaders would become committed, passionate readers given the right books, time to read…” (Kittle 1). She goes on to talk about how students today do not get the chance to build their stamina for reading. This is so very true! I remember the first time I had started college and was told I needed to finish so many pages/books a week. I about had a complete meltdown! I was not ready for that type of reading. I want to make sure that my students will at least have a better chance at being prepared for college reading by time they leave my room.
Why do we, as teachers, sometimes expect that students should be able to read the classics and understand them when they haven’t had time to prepare for that type of reading? As Kittle states, “Reading only what is too hard and then telling them what it means is not making them better readers” (Kittle 7). This is completely defeating to the students and just helps to reinforce their thinking that reading is boring and something they cannot do. In this case, as she states, we end up doing more harm than good.
It would be really nice if all English teachers would/could buy into fostering the love of reading through guiding students to become avid readers by giving them choices in what they read. I think that is why this is such an important class, or, it is important for teachers to become aware of as many different YA books as possible. We need to be the advocates that help foster the love of reading in our students.