Celebrate: Reading Revelations

After the holiday celebrations, things slow down. The streets are quieter. Being a teacher, this a nearly perfect time. As Terje reflected in her post, this is a time to revel in. To rejuvenate and recharge.  And read.

Depending on the time of day, I choose a spot in my house and read.  Over the break I read wonderful middle-grade books that I can’t wait to share with my kiddos. But what lingers with me as a reader and a reading teacher is the adult fiction.

Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere was one of my adult reading choices. The beautifully written book is a page turner that feeds your thoughts.  And it made me realize that I have become a lazy reader.

This passage, sandwiched between dialogue, stopped me beause I didn’t understand.

Moody shrugged off his flannel shirt and tossed it on the coach. He had sat at the lake for hours, throwing rocks into the water, thinking, about Pearl and his brother. Look what you did to her, he thought furiously, How could you put her through that?  He had through every rock he could find it was still not enough.

In my hurry to know what would happen next, my brain did not engage on the level it needed to. In that moment of confusion I recognized what I wasn’t doing.  I make choices to read on specific levels, deep or shallow. But this wasn’t that. It was honest miscomprehension. Fixable in the moment, but also a call to engage in and with more complex text.  More than once, while reading, I thought, This is beautiful, I should mark this page with a post it. But my desire to “just read” didn’t allow it. I knew better, but I choose to read on.Rewriting this passage has me marveling at Ng’s use of tense, place, and pronouns. No wonder it through me.

This experience has left me with reminders for the reader and writer in me and in my students.
• Reading easier books all the time can make a lazy reader.
• Reading for what happens next is one of the joys of reading that should be honored.
• Rereading is necessary for in the moment understanding.
• Rereading and rewriting a passage is another joy of reading that can inspire the writer.

Nothing earth-shattering here. I’ve known all of this.
But.
This kind of adult reading experience made the reading teacher in me sit up and notice.
And. There’s no doubt the reading sermon I’ll give to my students on Monday will be filled with my own reading revelations.

Thank you, Ruth for your weekly call to celebrate. Read more celebrations on Ruth’s blog, Ruth Ayers Writes.

5 thoughts on “Celebrate: Reading Revelations

  1. I’ve had the same experiences with this book, Julieanne. Thanks for articulating so beautifully how we can learn from our own reading lives to help our students in their journies, too.

  2. Your reading revelations are strong, Julieanne, and your delivery to your students will be equally enticing. Every reader should understand the purpose of rereading. I do it often, especially if I rush through something.

  3. This probably also makes you wonder how many skip right through, missing a deeper layer, because they want to read on to discover what’s next. I hope you’ll share what your students have to share after you tell them your own revelation!

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