Questions and Actions

I just finished reading Book Love, by Penny Kittle.  I’m not going to lie – this book was inspiring, heart wrenching, and thought provoking.  If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, you should go right now and read.  Come back in a few hours.  It’s worth it.

Lessons Learned

There were so many things that I highlighted, underlined, starred, sticky noted, and Tweeted in her book.  These final few chapters did not fail to live up to my expectations.  So, rather than bore you with my ramblings, I want to just outline the take-aways and lessons I have learned by reading Book Love.

  • Teaching a love of reading is hard.  However, it is the kind of hard work that sometimes ends in disappointments.  It is also the kind of hard work that ends in miracles like Crystal (p. 159-167).
  • Teaching a lifetime of reading habits is hard.  You will find challengers and naysayers from surprising faces.  You will find the surprise champion for implementing a culture of readers.  You will cry.  You will smile.
  • Teaching others that choice is essential for a healthy reading life – especially for teens or for reluctant readers – is hard.  You will battle for the type of curriculum that allows choice, promotes readers workshops and writers workshops, and flips the whole idea of teaching on its head.
  • Teaching a love of reading is something that is a life mission.  It is something that you must be passionate about and it is something that will permeate your entire life.  Whether you are an English major, an English or Reading teacher, or the school principal (p. 141-146) – you are a teacher of book love.

Questions and Actions – How I will LIVE Book Love
Image courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

There is too much in this text to analyze or synthesize.  I’ve learned so much that it is difficult to put it into a few hundred words.  Instead, I think I’m going to publicly declare my intentions to be a teacher of book love.

My Declaration of Teaching Book Love

I hold firmly to the belief that we are all teachers of reading.  I have an insatiable desire to share books and stories with all people – young and old, student and friend.

I also firmly believe that as a teacher of book love I must live by example.  I will continue to read voraciously and to share these amazing (and sometimes not the best) stories through my blog and my Twitter feed.  I will help people find THEIR book – that gateway to the door of reading – and get that book in their hands.

I solemnly vow that I will never stop asking this most vital question

What are you reading now?

For it is with that question that I will frame my expectations, that all people will be reading something, and that their reading lives are just as important as what they had for dinner.  I will ask others for suggestions and will endeavor to ask this essential question multiple times a day and in every interaction I have.


What are you reading now?  Let’s talk below…

5 thoughts on “Questions and Actions

  1. What a wonderful and simple place to start! Often, we just need to figure out the way in to get us going with the best approaches to teaching literacy–and often, the way in is really simple. (Writing can happen the same way–we all have notebooks, and we talk about what we’re writing.) So glad you liked this book so much. Her book about writing, Write Beside Them, is one I reread every year before teaching Comp. Love it so much!


    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll have to get Write Beside Them soon then.
      I especially loved Kittle’s question she asks everyone: What are you reading? I think that helps to set up a culture of reading and a community of readers. I like how the question isn’t just for students, but rather for everyone. It is a wonderful expectation to have that everyone is a reader and everyone is reading. I also LOVED the school wide reading break with custodians, principals, lunch servers, and all staff stopping, taking a small group and having a reading break. That certainly helps to visually show that it is a community of readers. 🙂


  2. Book Love has also helped me start asking “what are you reading” with more frequency. I love stopping and discusing books with my students. I had a student (not an English class), borrow a book and we discussed it the other day after school. It’s just amazing to see their worlds open up and make time to read.


    1. I really loved Kittle’s easy to implement question! It is a great way to remind those around us that we expect all people to be constantly reading. i also love the 20 min book break she describes. It seems clear that the expectation is for everyone to read – not grade papers, not do paperwork, not nap. I hope someday I can implement that in my school.

      Liked by 1 person

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