It’s fun to chat with others about books and stories you read.  That was proven yet again last night when our book group got together for dinner, drinks and discussion around our summer reading book, The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  We talked about our favorite characters and the traits they possess, we talked about story lines that are intriguing and mostly we talked about the overriding theme of racism in the past and present.

There’s something quite powerful about getting adults together to talk about things they have read, be it fiction or non-fiction texts.  Adults have an appreciation for what they read that students lack.  At first you may think that is a shame, but really, I think it’s just all part of the learning process.

When we are students we are reading things that are forced upon us and even though we may enjoy the stories, it’s a different purpose for reading.  In fact some ladies at the table last night were commenting (myself included) on how in High School we and/or our friends skimmed books to get through them, read Cliff’s Notes, maybe even watched the movie to finish the reading assignment.  One HS English Teacher at the table commented on how students hone their skills on piggy-backing on what others say, pretending they’ve read the book and get by on school survival skills.

We want our kids to read and enjoy what they read, but what’s the trick?  This is a question teachers have been wondering for generations, I’m sure…

As an adult, I mostly read books I am interested in and therefore am able to enjoy them that much more.  Unfortunately, I don’t read quite as much for pure enjoyment as I would like.  (Which is the reason for starting these summer book groups!)  But when I do and am able to process the stories with other adults, it is very satisfying.

I would love to see more of that sort of satisfaction in reading and responding in my students!

~EMP

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