“What is your philosophy of reading?” This question was recently posed to me. I felt comfortable in the fact that I knew the deeper meaning of why I believe in the power of reading instruction. But, I also knew at that point, that I needed to interact with my philosophy a bit, to refine it, and to be sure from this day forward, I live that philosophy.
The answer for me, went something like this….reading is not truly reading until the point that it becomes interactive. This interaction occurs between the reader and the text. At a very basic level, it goes beyond decoding words and reading fluently, two of the surfaces components of reading. We read to comprehend, the deeper component of reading. However, real reading goes beyond that. Real reading occurs when the reading becomes alive, when it becomes like a conversation and interaction between two entities, the person and the message that is being conveyed.
With that said, that still doesn’t quite touch my philosophy of reading. So, why do we read? Why should it be an integral part of everyone’s life? The answer is this: because it changes lives. The answer is where the magic of reading takes place. That is the point at which the message of a text (whether it be a fiction book read for entertainment, an online new article read for information, or carton strip with a deeper meaning) becomes a permanent part of who we are and how we live our lives.
So, why do I have a passion to build on my knowledge on reading standards, the five components of reading, reading assessment and reading research? Because I’m just nerdy like that? Well, that is true! But, the bottom line is reading can be one of the most impactful activities one takes part in. It can help you through the hardest times in your life, it can give you a sense of relaxation when you are stressed, it can build relationships between parent and child, and it can answer the “secrets” to life that we all face. What better gift to give our students than the ability read with such a purpose?
Now, it is time for me to live this (or continue to do so in a more proactive manner). Reading is interactive. Real reading occurs when it becomes a permanent part of who you are.
What is your philosophy? I encourage every individual to consider this, and particularly teachers, principals, and parents. Because reading can truly change lives.