Recently my brother-in-law casually asked me, "What have you been reading lately?" I stopped dead in my tracks. "Ummmmmmm...." Racking my brain for an answer, I squinted my eyes and looked at the ceiling for help.
"You're a reading specialist who doesn't read?" he laughed.
Then I pictured Wuthering Heights collecting dust atop my nightstand. I've been reading a few pages here and there for months. I really do enjoy the book, but by the end of the day I'm so tired that I reread the same paragraph as I drift off to sleep. I'm not the voracious reader I'd hoped I was.
Does this really make me a hypocrite? No. Like most of my students, I enjoy reading material that pertains to my own life and personal interests.
In high school I was the type of student who would instinctively grab my Cliffs Notes as soon as the unfamiliar vocab slapped me in the face (the usual suspects included "whence," "hark" and "anon"). I hated being told what to read. The other day I talked with a parent of a reluctant reader who seemed apologetic about giving his son comic books. I told him that's the best thing he can do -- to use his son's interests to motivate his reading habits.
I've learned that I'm a reading specialist who loves to read about reading. I'm a reading specialist who knows what it feels like to struggle...to be unmotivated...to reject books that are chosen for me. I can relate. And that's why I love being a teacher.