I have to remind my juniors, seniors, and myself to take time, every once in a while, to read slowly. We need to counterbalance the hurry and scurry of reading for class preparation, AP English assessments, and SATs, especially in a quarter-block schedule like ours.
To help us appreciate and remember the value of occasionally reading slowly as we wrap up the semester, I shared Jacqueline Woodson’s TEDTalk on “What reading slowly taught me about writing.” Perhaps, her message will catch on with a few students over our upcoming break, and they’ll take some time to read a bit and to read slowly.
Of the many great moments from Woodson’s talk, here is one of my favorites:
"Sometimes we read to understand the future. Sometimes we read to understand the past. We read to get lost, to forget the hard times we're living in, and we read to remember those who came before us, who lived through something harder. I write for those same reasons."
FYI, Here’s Wilde’s “The Selfish Giant” story that Woodhouse delights in:
With their young children, parents can regularly enjoy the pleasure of practicing the kind of reading that Woodhouse commends. Maybe those of us who teach older children can find some ways to serve up more slow reading time too.
I think some of my own best reading and writing times were spent in a state of focused relaxation, often sitting by a woodstove with a book, a journal, and sometimes an audiobook version. Those were the days when I didn’t have Internet or smartphone connectivity to so easily distract me.
Even without a woodburning stove, there’s some time during my weekends and my upcoming break for me to turn off the tech and “Take up and read; Take up and read,” more slowly than usual. Perhaps you can find some time for that opportunity too.