As a child I was not a book lover nor was I a book reader. The saddest part of all is that no one expected me to read. Not my parents or my teachers. I was an excellent reader, thanks to Dick and Jane (Yikes, now you know how old I am). I can only remember one teacher reading aloud to me, Mrs. Morris, my fourth grade teacher, and to this day I remember the books she read: Brighty of Grand Canyon, Justin Morgan Had a Horse, Misty of Chincoteague, and The Secret Garden. I took a Children's Lit class in college because I thought it would be easy, and that is when I started reading and I haven't stopped. In that class, I learned what I had missed, and I made a solemn vow on a stack of children's books to never let anyone I cared about miss out on the joy of reading a good book.
As a teacher of thirty-one years, I have never been much of a basal reading program user. I never understood why children that lived smack-dab in the middle of a blistering inferno should be convinced to make a connection with a story about sailing. My first two years of teaching I used the basal because I didn't know what else to do, but deep down inside I knew it wasn't using the basal reader. The years to follow I devised my own reading program using "real" books. About ten years ago, I tripped over the reading workshop philosophy of teaching reading. I had finally found MY true philosophy. It felt comfortable like a soft cushy couch that you sit in, get swallowed up by and wonder if you will ever be able to get out without someone throwing you a life-preserver.
I am always asked how I get kids to love reading so much. My answer is always, "I don't know." It may be the oozing-honey-sat-too-close-to-me-and-got-some-on-you theory or magic. I am kind of pulling for the books are magic theory. I expect my students to be "real" readers. I read to them. They read to me. We read together. They read on their own . . . . . . Abracadabra . . . . . POOF . . . . sparkling fairy dust . . . . . they love to read. Believe me, I would love to take the credit for it, but I can't. It's not me. It's the books. Try one, but watch out for the sparkling fairy dust; it can get in your eyes.
I can't read, but I do enjoy the sound of your voice, especially, on our trips to Montana when you read to Auntie Caren. Your melodic voice puts me to sleep. Wait a minute . . . . . . I like naps, therefore, I like the sound of your voice.