Chapter 1: Developing a Devotion to Story
Before I even knew how to read, stories were my first passion, and I demanded and devoured them every night before bed. I’m lucky to have had parents who ignited this spark and who continued to fan the flame throughout my childhood. I consider myself fortunate to be able to share this part of myself with others, first as a journalist and now in the classroom. As an educator, I strive to promote the benefits and joys of reading to both students and the adults in their lives. Most importantly, I aim to help each pupil see himself or herself as a reader. Donalyn Miller, educator and author of texts about cultivating lifelong reading habits in children, has been my guru in this endeavor. Miller & Kelley (2014) suggest we need to engage in “planned, explicit conversations that model and teach students how to develop reading lives” (p. xxii). A key part of this direct instruction is the need to foster an eventual independence in young readers. After all, students will not be able to rely on a teacher’s or a librarian’s help forever. “If students remain dependent on teachers to remove all obstacles that prevent them from reading, they won’t become independent readers” (p. xviii).
“You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me.”
– Strickland Gillilan
Miller, D., & Kelley, S. (2014). Reading in the wild: The book whisperer’s keys to cultivating lifelong reading habits. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.