Aiming to be Lost

Between the pages of a book a child discovers possibility and wonder – a lifelong commitment to losing herself within the pages.  It sadly didn’t happen in school. Although a most vivid auditory memory of resting her head on the desk and listening to the lilting tones of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, ruminates to this day. Outside the read aloud, in the other five hours and forty minutes a day, reading hurt. It wasn’t until wheeling to the library to get lost amongst the stacks that an awakening occurred. She devoured the authors’ words and they merged with her soul. Countless pages, word after word they seared themselves onto her imagination and she reveled in them. The difference? It wasn’t about how she sounded when she read or what she said about what she read. These stories were for her and her alone.  It was about how the books made her feel. It was about how her thoughts soared after reading the words. It was how her pen hit the page in the utmost compliment of copying a phrase, an idea, a thought. Trip after trip to the stacks, night after night of hiding under the sheets with a flashlight, she was a reader. But she was the only one who knew.

To this day when I read a book, I get lost. I need to commit from start to finish and sit in the thoughts and feelings that the author has gifted me with. They’re hard to translate to words. It’s an internal conversation that doesn’t seem to translate as effectively to speech. It makes me wonder about the reluctant readers that I see. What’s going on inside those heads? Are they locked in their minds in a vibrant and wonderful conversation with the words that they cannot seem to handle translating? I dare say we should aim to put those books that call to their reading selves in their hands and let them read. It is vital. Everyone deserves to be lost.

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9 thoughts on “Aiming to be Lost

  1. Yes, yes, and yes! I give my student time to read without pressure. I do struggle to balance the requirements of school (sometimes I do need to check what you know about what you’ve read with a formal assessment), but I do try to welcome kids to the books that will worm their way into their lives and just talk about the books we love. I hope I can keep doing so.

  2. Yes, I totally agree…however, some of my most exciting times reading books was when a teacher pointed out to me that the things that I was feeling b/c of something I read weren’t necessarily what the text was trying to make me feel. That’s more sophisticated thinking than is appropriate for early readers, and I agree the most important thing is to get kids loving reading. But, I loved that first “aha” moment when I realized that “The Road Not Taken” is not about the importance of taking the road not taken (which is the emotional response most have to the poem) but in fact about the exact opposite.

  3. I love your phrase “She devoured the authors’ words and they merged with her soul.”. This is how we should all feel when we read books – to be totally enthralled in what the author is telling us, to become the characters. You have expressed all this so well in your slice. Allowing the students time to just get into a book instead of pushing books at them – that how they will become great readers.

  4. I get lost in books as well! If you find a way that I could show my struggling readers how to enjoy books and really get into them,, please pass it on! Until then, happy reading!

  5. I love watching my students when they get lost in a book. I get frustrated on the outside when I see students reading instead of listening to me, but on the inside I am smiling because I know they are “lost!”

  6. I love this! How did you write about me so well? We are all this girl here… Your call to action should be repeated over and over again. We NEED to make this happen for as many kids as we possibly can.

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