Last week one of my students threw a book on my desk and said, "You need to read this. It's over 400 pages, but it's a quick read." I looked at the title and cringed. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. I'm still trying to get used to the Young Adult scene, and I usually avoid popular fiction when I can. Yet, when a student gives me a book to read, I like to oblige - and I need to bite the bullet and do much more YA reading anyway.
What's more, at the back of the book there was an advertisement for Patterson's website, ReadKiddoRead.com. The site is great, and I'll put it to use to find books for my students. However, there was also a link to an article Patterson wrote last September for CNN: How to get your kid to be a fanatic reader.
There are some great resources for parents and teachers, including reading lists. But the encouragement for me came in something simple: Patterson said, in order to get children to read, they have to read. Yes, I've known it, but it's great to hear it again and again. Find books youngsters will enjoy and they will read. Then repeat.
Yet another voice whispering to me last week was Alan Jacobs, English professor at Wheaton College. He wrote The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, which I haven't read yet. The article I did read was Don't Worry, Read Happy: Alan Jacobs on The Pleasures of Reading.
Case in point: my sophomore year in college I took a class in which we were supposed to read large portions of Moby Dick. Guess what? I didn't read much at all. Yet that summer, when I could choose what to read, I flew through the whole book and I loved every minute of it. To this day Moby Dick is one of my favorites.
Read. Read for fun and let your children - or anyone really - see you enjoying a good book. Heck, why not enjoy Dr. Seuss like you used to? It's still great.