Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reading and My Dad

Some of my fondest and earliest memories of my dad are sitting on the arm of the living room chair right before bedtime and begging him to read just one more chapter. I was young, maybe as young as 6 or 7.  My sister was a year and a half younger than me.  She sat either in his lap or on the other arm of the chair.  

Every night before bed my dad would read to us.  As I said, we were young, yet he did not read books that were at our "level" to us. He would read the classics at the time with expression and passion.  He would pause and talk and answer our questions and explain what he understood about the book and what he was thinking about as he read.  The books he read to us are still on my list of favorite books of all time.  The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, by Francis Hodgson Burnett and Just So Stories, written by Rudyard Kipling were three of the books he read to us and that I continue to love to this day. 

I'm not sure if he understood what he was doing, but he instilled in me a love of lifelong reading and learning.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about reading.  I love to read and must admit that I'm a bit of a book hoarder.  My dream house would have one of those huge libraries that has a ladder with wheels to help access all the books!  The questions I've been thinking about is why?  Why do I love books so much?  How do I replicate and share that love of books with my students?  How do I instill that love of lifelong reading and learning?

One of the answers, for me, is my dad.  He shared with me his love of reading and his love for me. 

Friday, February 7, 2014


What kind of student are you?  Bad at math? Struggling reader? Love science?  What you believe about yourself and how you learn makes a difference in your ability to learn.  I recently finished reading a nonfiction book by Carol Dweck called Mindset.  It's an excellent book with a very simple premise.  In her book she talks about the two different types of mindsets.  Fixed mindset vs. Growth mindset  

It made me wonder about the damage we do to our students when we label them with a "disability".  Sometimes that label defines them, even though that is not our intention.

I hear it all the time.  I'm not good at math or I'm not a cook, I don't write well, or I just don't do (fill in the blank)  and that's the end of it.  It's said in a way that it will never change and that's just that.   

We don't want our kids to get stuck in a fixed mindset!  Let's keep encouraging our kids to work and put effort towards the things that they have a passion to do.

I love this quote from Patricia Polacco that I heard this weekend at the Colorado reading conference (CCIRA)  this  week.  "We are all gifted, we just don't all open the present at the same time."

If you're interested in this thought changing book by Carol Dweck, check it out and the interview by NPR.

Great website!