GOALS FOR READING
In addition to teaching the Standards my primary goal for 7th and 8th grade students is to teach them how to READ. Now I realize all my 7th and 8th grade students know how to READ. But only a few of them really know how to READ. READING is looking at words and sentences and decoding their meaning. READING is when you totally immerse yourself in a book. READING is when you are not only involved mentally with a good book, but your heart and soul is also invested. When you READ you understand not only what is happening, but why it is happening. READING helps you to understand not only the people and places in the book, but it helps you to better understand yourself and your own world. READING will expose you to thoughts and ideas that you cannot encounter any other way. READING will help you grow as a person. It will make your own world bigger, brighter, more interesting, and more amazing than it would otherwise be. Like any skill READING requires some effort. It requires practice. But the reward is tremendous.
When you READ you should find a quiet place away from all distractions – TV’s, cell phones, siblings, etc. You should be an active reader not a passive reader. You need to interact with the book mentally and emotionally. It’s not enough to understand what characters are doing. Ask questions. Why are they doing it? What do they want? What will they do next? What does this say about people? How do you feel about what they are doing? What does that say about you? What is the author trying to communicate about the world? You should not settle for gathering information. You should be acquiring wisdom. Learn from the characters’ mistakes. Learn from the characters’ triumphs. Learn what the author is trying to teach you. Relate the book to your own life. All good authors and all worthy books impart wisdom if you READ.
How will you know if you are READING? The room you are in will disappear. You won’t know what time it is. When someone calls your name you’ll feel as if you are waking up from a dream. You’ll feel sad when the book ends. The characters will feel like people you actually once knew, people you care about. And you will see and understand the world differently than you did before you READ the book. In ways large or small the book will be part of you, and it will have changed you, even improved you.