edu180atl: joel mcelvaney 3.12.12
When I asked a classroom of thirty 17 and 18 year-olds how many of them read for pleasure, only four students raised their hands. I shouldn’t have been shocked, but I was. I love reading. It is one of the reasons I got into teaching: to share my love of reading with others. Getting lost in a good book is a simple pleasure that I have enjoyed my entire life. Reading a work of fiction helps us to discover ourselves and to connect with the fabric of human experience. During my twenty years as a literature teacher, I have always had a tacit goal for my students, a goal that cannot be found in the list of state standards: I want my students to love reading, to be lifelong readers. Most of us enjoy reading for pleasure at least until middle school; then, for many, that love of reading dies, often hastened by teachers who are focused on other objectives. The results of my informal poll have me looking for ways to introduce pleasure-reading into my classrooms. It won’t be easy–with all of the standards to meet and the emphasis on test-scores–but I know it will be worth it.
About the author: Joel McElvaney is high school literature teacher and father of a 10 and 15 year-old. He enjoys integrating technology into his lessons and integrating fun into his life.