I want to start this post off with a bit of a confession that is going to potentially expose me as a fraud: I did not read a ton from 6th grade to senior year of college. And it tears me up to this day. Reading for academic gain, of course. I have hit all the classics: The Giver, The Grapes of Wrath, Romeo and Juliet, Of Mice and Men,The Great Gatsby, Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked this Way Comes, To Kill a Mockingbird and so on. There is a very low chance however I would have read any of those books for recreation if given the chance. Also, like most teenagers, I just made sure to read the Spark Notes summaries, so I didn’t even really get the joy of doing the work myself. And that is again one of my regrets. So this lesson is very simple: read.
In recent years, I have been trying to make up for lost time. Teaching at different grade levels over my professional career has really been a blessing for building my love of reading back. I taught preschool right out of college and of course I had my fill on different types of picture books. When I taught 5th grade, I challenged myself to read children’s’ novels and other types of books by many types of authors. I ended up reading about 3 novels a week that school year and from there, my love for reading blossomed. It was not easy building myself back up as a good reader but I had to start somewhere. Because of this I have been able to explore the classics and find some new favorites. Harry Potter is probably my favorite series (I am a very proud Ravenclaw), Holes is my favorite read aloud book. P is for Pterodactyl and The Day the Crayons Quit are two of my favorite picture books. My sister-in-law gifted me Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow a few years ago, and I finished it! Albeit two and a half years later. Mo Willems and his Pigeon/Knuffelbunny/Pig and Elephant books are some of my absolute favorites. As of this year, books like Why are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, How to be an Anti-Racist, The Hate U Give have really opened my eyes on furthering my knowledge on social issues. I was pleasantly surprised at how much depth and brevity was covered in Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. My favorite book of all time, and I am one hundred percent serious when I say this, is One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss. And of course I have tried my hand at writing books in different capacities with mixed results.
For lack of better terms, reading and therefore the pursuit of knowledge is a past time that I have fondly come to enjoy. Gaining knowledge just for the sake of gaining knowledge is a happiness that is comparable to solving a difficult riddle on your own or finishing a 1000 piece puzzle. More people move away from reading because there is a chance/fear of being wrong about preconceived notions. As humans, I believe it is our personal duty to learn and evolve every day (post coming soon). Reading is a great way to not only challenge yourself but also a genuine chance to just dive into some good literature and kill a few hours a day. For the sake of your own wisdom and for the sake of your own entertainment dedicate more time to reading for leisure
Take Care of Yourself and Read baby Read