Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't you ever interrupt me while I'm reading a book

It's November and you know what that means! It's NaBloPoMo! AKA National Blog Posting Month

I know I haven't been around much this year, but Eilonwy talked me into getting back in the game. I've certainly been wanting to, so this a perfect excuse.

The reality for blogging for me is that it's just meant to be a fun writing outlet. I don't care about how many readers I have or getting a certain number of posts out in a certain number of time (November being the exception). I just want to write about what I want to write about when I want to write about it. And have some way of letting some people know what's going in my life.

The biggest reason I haven't been around as much the last 18 months or so is because my life has changed in a LOT of ways. I don't mean just Blake, though he is certainly a wonderful part of that. I've also changed jobs a number of times (compared to having just one main job for six years), finished another graduate degree, moved to a new apartment, and so on. These things can really mess with your routines and daily life and some things, like blogging, take a bit of a back seat.

And that's okay.

But that's not what I'm here to talk about today.

As per usual, Eilonwy and I have a picked a writing prompt challenge to help us through November. This time, each day of the week has a particular topic and Friday's is reading and books.

I love to read. You probably know this already. And I spend a great deal of my day thinking about reading. I'm a librarian, so that makes sense. In my current job, I spend most of my day either directly helping or teaching young people find things to read or maintaining the library to make that first part easier. I'm also surrounded by books that I myself want to read, which makes my lunch breaks quite enjoyable.

One thing I've thought a lot about is how we might judge people for what they choose to read. Reading good, interesting, and, hopefully, challenging or thought provoking literature is important, but what makes a book good, interesting, challenging, or thought provoking is ultimately up to the individual reader.

To help those whose reading choices I can influence choose books that are a good fit  for them, I encourage them to think of the acronym PICK.

P - Purpose - Why do I want to read this/a book?
I - Interest - What genre/topic interests me?
C - Comprehend - Will I be able to understand the contents of the book?
K - Know - Do I know enough words to comprehend the book? Is too hard (or too easy)?

If someone knows enough words to comprehend a book, and it's something that is interesting to them, then it will fulfill the purpose for their reading.

If, using their own best judgment, a given book fits those criteria - who am I to say anything about their choice? I'm not into graphic novels, or Tom Clancy, or books about math, but someone else might be and that's okay. If someone were to read all fiction all the time, that's okay too. I also don't think there are "boy" books or "girl" books. Sometimes I like to read about dragons or swords or futuristic civil wars too.

Additionally, I am aware of some librarians who refuse to let children check out books that are above their grade/reading level. You're in fourth grade? You can only check out fourth grade level books. Personally, ain't nobody got time for that. I can't police the levels of the books patrons are checking out. I can teach them about PICKing good books, label books to reflect the level they best fit, and then let them figure it out for themselves.

In other words, I can teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves. Each reader knows their own reading level better than I do. I know a 6 year old who is plowing through Harry Potter, but there are others who are still working on The Cat In The Hat. A lot of patrons I help speak English as a second language, and barely at that, so they aren't going to be reading, in English at least, at their grade level. Yet.

Now, parents and teachers can get to know their children/students on a more individual level, and should have even more conversations about what they should be reading. But I see hundreds of kids and people a week, and I'm not going to waste my time saying "No" any more than I have to.

(The above comic is from today's Unshelved, which I stopped reading a few months ago because it wasn't consistently interesting enough. I am grateful to Jessica for sharing it on Facebook. For this topic, start with Monday's.)

I have always been an advanced reader who was interested in reading a wide variety of things (I remember checking out ALL of the paranormal books in the children's room at our library as a kid, but I also read all the Babysitter's Club books, and did research on Shakespeare), and, since no one told me I couldn't do that, I still love reading to this day. I want to encourage that in others. My goal is to help students and patrons discover their own love of reading within themselves and know how to find the things that will keep them coming back to the library and loving it.

And if all they want to read are cozy mysteries, awesome.

And if I've done all they can and still don't want to read?

That's okay too.

For my fellow book lovers, here's an amusing video/song about constantly reading.
What I'm (actively) reading: When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead, 1776 by David McCullough, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Holes by Louis Sachar, and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards.


Nancy said...

Lovely! I'm so jealous that you're working in a school library. I would *love* that job! But I also enjoy my current job, so...few complaints here. :)

And shout out to us! :D

And I'm so sad we didn't make our DC trip, but we're going to plan a new one. I promise. :)

More emoticons!!! :) :D :P

Giggles said...

I loved "When You Reach Me" and had to immediately pull out "A Wrinkle in Time" after I finished it.

Also, in the correct lighting, people with very angular faces look quite a bit creepy.

Emily said...

I loved stargirl and holes :)