Reigniting the passion

March 1st, 2012

This is the final post in our series with Teri Lesesne. In January she shared with us her reading resolutions, in February she talked about how to foster a love of reading in kids, and this month she talked about how to get out of the reading doldrums. After reading this post and revisiting her previous ones, take a quick look at the special package of Teri’s books on the Stenhouse website.

Reigniting the Passion

I will make a confession:  there have been days and sometimes even weeks when I have just not felt much like reading ANYTHING.  Gasp!  Horrors, right?  The fact of the matter is that, now and then, we need a bit of a reignition, a kick start, a battery jump.  So, the next time you find yourself in that slump, try a few of these tactics (and they work well with our students, too).

First, it is perfectly fine to TAKE A BREAK FROM READING.  Daniel Pennac in his ground breaking book, Better Than Life (Stenhouse, 1999) includes some Rules for Reading.  One of the rules is the right not to read.  Now, don’t get me wrong: we can take a break, but we ultimately need to return to reading.  However, when things are hectic beyond all belief, take a break.  Get the other “stuff” done.  And then, if you need something to help you come back to reading, try this.

REREAD AN OLD FAVORITE.  That could be a book from your childhood, adolescence or adulthood.  Every time I read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, I see something I have missed before.  It is one of those rare and wonderful children’s books that, like Charlotte’s Web, has deeper meaning as I grow older.

START WITH SOMETHING EASY THAT YOU CAN FINISH READING QUICKLY. I read a ton of picture books.  In part, that is because I teach children’s literature in addition to YA literature.  However, when I am in a slump, there is nothing like a 32 page picture book (or 5 or 10 or more) to make me feel accomplished and fast!  I will sometimes start my morning with a stack of picture books to go along with my first cup of coffee.  About the time I take the final sip from my mug, I have finished at least 5 books.  5 X 32 = 160 pages. Granted, illustrations take up some room on the page, but I make no apologies here.  It works like a charm for me.

TRY READING SOMETHING OUTSIDE OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE. I began reading graphic novels as a way to vary my routine of reading YA realistic fiction.  Now, graphic novels are part of my comfort zone (and, like picture books, I can read them rather quickly).  So, I press on.  I have grown to like fantasy and science fiction more because I decided to try to extend my reading interests.  If I never pushed myself at all, I would still be reading Gothic romances and little else.

ASK FOR A RECOMMENDATION FROM FRIENDS. I am a proud member of the Nerdy Book Club. Recommendations from the other members get added to my wish list at Amazon and my TBR pile which threatens to topple daily.  I trust these folks.  They know what I like, and they are always ready to suggest a book for me to read.  Of course, I have a couple of colleagues here in the department where I work who also make fine recommendations.

SEE WHAT IS LIGHTING UP THE SOCIAL MEDIA OR BESTSELLER LISTS. I troll Twitter and Facebook and other networks to see what others are reading and raving about.  There are blogs I follow religiously as well.  I might have missed books such as Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach were it not for the Cybills’ discussion.  The Cybills are awards given by children’s and YA bloggers.

JOIN A READING GROUP. My colleague Karin Perry (@kperry on Twitter) has formed a reading group of our current and former Library Science students.  In January we read Cinder by Marissa Meyer.  Next up was The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (recently the winner of the Texas Bluebonnet Award with over 25,000 votes).  It is an online discussion because many of our graduate students live 400 miles from campus. We are so enjoying being able to talk about our reading with one another.

READ SOMETHING WITH YOUR CLASS ALOUD. Why not wake up all those dormant readers?  Find a quirky book like I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen or Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty by Lisa Pliscou and read it aloud.  It’s a Book by Lane Smith would work well.  So would Goodnight iPad by Ann Droyd (get it?) or Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey.

So, here comes Spring.  Ready?  Set?  Read!

Entry Filed under: Reading

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Nancy  |  March 26th, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I to have felt that pressure of having to read something. It just doesn’t work. I decode the text, but did I really make a connection to the meaning? No! When I allowed myself to take a break and read something I wanted to read than my attitude changed and the next thing you know, I picked up the material from before and to my amazement I got much more out of it. The power of building upon your interests is intense and highly motivating!

    Enjoy a good read for the pleasure!!

  • 2. Debbie Alvarez  |  March 31st, 2012 at 1:07 am

    Had a conversation with a friend today about rereading and reigniting the initiative to read after loving a special book. My friend actually mentioned that she has books she’s most excited about that she moves down in her reading pile and puts off reading because she knows she won’t want it to end. For me, rereading a favorite is terrific. Also, I find that if I pick an author which I enjoyed with only one book, I order every book they’ve additionally written at the library and enjoy them- this works with picture book authors quite well and pushes me back into reading momentum…

  • 3. Styling Librarian: Techno&hellip  |  April 30th, 2012 at 1:47 am

    […] Reigniting the passion – The Stenhouse Blog “The fact of the matter is that, now and then, we need a bit of a reignition, a kick start, a battery jump.  So, the next time you find yourself in that slump, try a few of these tactics (and they work well with our students, too).” […]

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