One of my favorite questions to ask educators is... "so, what are you reading?" Whether I'm visiting a school, working with a group of principals or chatting with other librarians on twitter (yes, I'm looking at you #2jennsbookclub), I love to hear about the books my colleagues can’t put down. Over the years, I think I’ve developed a pretty decent BS detector too, because I can totally tell when people are fibbing, and not because they don't want me to know what they're reading, but rather... because they don't want to admit that they aren't reading anything at all! This doesn't make me stop asking, though. Rather, it makes me double down! Because I'm just sassy that way. Instead of letting them off the hook, I start making them a quick TBR pile. And if it’s someone I know personally, I send them one of the books from that list. And then, because I am nothing if not tenacious, the next time I see them, I ask if they’ve read it! Let's be honest, if you're embarrassed to admit that you don't read, there's really only one way to fix that. And this girl is happy to help. (BTW: This was one of my very favorite things to do at principals’ meetings, back in the day! There’s nothing more fun than getting a principal to admit they haven’t read anything in awhile and then fixing that by becoming their own personal book fairy godmother. But… I digress).
That said, I recently had a conversation with a very sweet librarian at a conference who was concerned about the teachers in her school who aren't readers. She shared an exchange that she had with a teacher, in front of children, in which she asked the teacher what she was reading, to which the teacher responded by saying "oh, I don't read. I just don't have time." Needless to say the librarian was mortified. Then she mentioned that she'd shared the post I wrote with Todd Nesloney last month, with tips to help all educators unlock their inner readers, with this teacher and with the rest of her staff. She said, “I just printed out the list and put it in all their mailboxes!” I'll be honest, I was so humbled by this, but it also got me thinking of ways to make our list of tips a little more shareable. With that in mind, I decided to make an Infographic out of our suggestions:
And then, I got inspired to create a small sign that teachers or administrators could print and post on their classroom doors to share what they are reading.
As is so often the case, I used Canva to create both of these resources. And as is ALWAYS the case, you are free to use and share them as you like. You can download a high resolution version of the infographic here (as either pdf or png). And the door signs can be found here.
Whether you use these resources or not, as reader leaders it’s critical that we make helping our colleagues who do not yet have rich and authentic reading lives, discover what they’re missing, a priority! As Todd and I said in our original post, it takes a reader to grow a reader. And ALL of our students deserve to have adults in their lives who can champion reading as a life changing experience because they themselves have been changed by stories. Now more than ever, the young people we work with need to be reminded of all the things that connect us as residents of this big blue planet. They need examples of how our shared humanity makes us more alike than different. They (as do we all) need to see how stories connect us.