How big a nerd am I? Seriously? You don't know already?
Yesterday, I went to a conference, it was entitled "The Best Books of the Past Decade for Teens and How to Use Them in Your Program."
This conference was like going to a Beatles concert for me (if that was possible), like finding a secret free stash of the great chocolate as big as the world, like finding a pair of cute Steve Maddens on a clearance rack. My husband texted me in the middle of the conference and I literally told him that I was so "into" this conference that I would have to talk him later, and "sigh, why are you interrupting me (just kidding, Baby! Exaggeration makes good stories into better stories)?!!!"
This conference gave my a list of Cambria-crack, that's right, over 300 titles of books for teens that Cambria NEEDS TO READ! I was so blasted excited when I left the conference that I drove straight to the bookstore and if I hadn't been for some self-conscience that my husband makes me have, probably would have blown all of our savings on books (But don't worry, Baby, I didn't.).
This conference made me realize (well, not really, made me reaffirm) how important it is that children (teenagers included) see grown-ups model how important/essential/life-or-death (okay, maybe not that)/FUN reading is. Studies show that if prekindergarten children are not read to or shown by example by adults how cool reading is, they will struggle, fall behind, and even-GASP-hate reading by the time they are in 6th grade-that means no "SuperFudge" for them. No Dahl references, no joy at Charlie discovering that golden ticket, they hate reading. Are you kidding me? You can't hate James and that Giant Peach, why it's delightful. I can't have one more student say to me, "I don't know who Charlotte, Old Yeller, Little Anne/Old Dan, Miss Nelson, BFG, and Sam Am I are."
These same studies show there is a direct correlation between these kids lack of literacy and their "behavior problems" in class. That means that as a Freshmen teacher, I have the daunting job of trying to get students who HATE to read, read The Most Dangerous Game, A Christmas Carol (and you already know how I feel about that book-I cry EVERY TIME Cratchit cries over little Tiny Tim's body-oops, I think I might tear up just thinking about it), and The Outsiders (come on! Who doesn't love gangs, swearing, and angst when you are a teenager?). And let me tell you something about teenagers, especially those with "behavior problems," they will tell you when they don't like something-EVERY TIME!. . . so, for many who hate reading, anything to do with a book is not in the cards in a Freshmen English class.
My point? PLEASE READ TO YOUR KIDS! AND LET THEM SEE YOU READ. . .ANYTHING! You have no idea what an impact you are making on your little ones one way or another. Read!*
*Ranting is read at your own expense and is in no way by any means meant as yelling directly at you. Remember, I am a nerd.