I felt the pressure to read my two professional reads for the summer.
There’s so much to be done this summer in preparation for the fall, it would have really helped to use the two free hours I had tonight to get some of the reading done.
But, the book that called my name at the library today was calling my pulling me towards it, The Summer of 1787 by David Stewart. I am a history nerd. I have natural and immense love and curiosity for the stories of our country’s beginning.
Despite a bit of guilt for indulging in my “free read” for the summer, I dove in.
The guilt soon dissipated as I was reminded of the feeling of an engaged reader.
Just two pages in, I had stopped numerous times, using my meta-cognitive strategies (you know, those strategies research says we should be explicitly teaching, not just embedding).
The opening scene was at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home. He and his dear friend George Mason was contemplating a decision over dinner, one that would cause them to either make great progress or cause complex problems.
My first question thinking was this: “George Washington is an obvious and well-known figure in our history. George Mason is lesser known. I wonder what made certain men stand above the rest. Why do we know men like Washington, Jefferson and Adams, but not as much about George Mason? What caused some to be remembered while others to be forgotten? What other men impacted our country that I don’t know about?”
This question was particularly relevant as I learned Thomas Jefferson modeled much of the Declaration after the works of George Mason.
This caused me to question myself. Thomas Jefferson is among my top three most admired men of our country. The Declaration is an admired piece of intellect, thought, reason and foundational of who we are. Those words though, were modeled after Mason. I need to know more about Mason.
Just in that one line of thinking, I questioned. I synthesized. I made personal connections. I considered rethinking my previous beliefs.
And, the feeling I had when I did this was that of an engaged reader. It was motivating. It was exciting. It made me want to read on, ask more questions, find out more and build on my thinking and beliefs. Call me nerdy, but I think my heart began to beat a little faster.
And, then I thought, “This is exactly what I need to be doing right now because the more I read, the more I feel the power of an engaged reader. ”
I am a literacy coach. What this means, is that the more I read (and write) the more I know the thinking, the complexities, the fun, the path to engagement for our kids. The more I can walk beside my teachers in this journey.
And, the same is for every teacher and coach out there. The more you read, the more likely you are to reach your kids as readers.
So, yes, read your professional books. (I certainly will). But, also pick up that free read and allow yourself to be an engaged reader. That will benefit you and your kids.