Reading can take you anywhere, if you let it -- by Jennifer Mitchell
Growing up in the 80’s I enjoyed reading books by Beverly Cleary and Judy Bloom. I moved on to The Baby-Sitter’s Club and Sweet Valley High books after that. In upper elementary my teacher introduced us to The Secret Garden and A Little Princess. I hadn’t read books like that before and it opened up a new genre for me to explore. That led me to getting the Anne of Green Gables series for my birthday and I fell in love with it. Fast forward to my young adult life, post undergraduate degree, and I came to realize I had fallen out of love with reading. I had spent so many years devoted to reading college course work that I had forgotten what it was like to read for enjoyment. A couple years later at a family gathering my sister-in-law suggested I read this new book with a character named Harry Potter. I decided to give it a try and I couldn’t put the book down. I realized what I had been missing when I stopped reading just for fun. From that time on, I have continued to read for enjoyment regularly. I love being able to have conversations with my mom, daughter, sister-in-law and coworkers about the books we have been reading and give suggestions to each other.
As a teacher, I try to share various genres when I do a read-aloud with my students. The book Wish, by Barbara O’Connor was the last story that I read to my students. It probably isn’t a book they would normally read on their own, but it brought up good discussion about real life issues that kids are faced with. I hope they discover the love of reading through one of the books I share with them.
Reading is a magical gift, but sometimes you have to reconnect with it.