Ways of Reading

As I followed the “reading culture” thread on the listserv last month and scrawled lists of related books I need to investigate, it got me thinking about all the ways I read nowadays. More specifically, I thought about how differently I read now than I did when I was a kid. When I was the age of my current students, reading meant a print book, or maybe an article in a print magazine or newspaper. Now, though?

  • In the morning and evening, as I get ready for work or bed, I listen to audiobooks. I also listen to audiobooks on long car trips. For short trips, I prefer podcasts, though often that means reading-adjacent storytelling podcasts like The Moth or StoryCorps.
  • Professional articles I mostly read on my computer, though my school does subscribe to print versions of SLJ and Hornbook, which makes for a nice break from staring at screens all the time!
  • In my father’s last years, I called him daily to read him articles from The New York Times, Smithsonian, or BBC Travel, all of which I read on my computer (though I do maintain a print subscription to Smithsonian).
  • I review books for SLJ and Kirkus, and these days, I read all those on my computer.
  • For travel, or for books I need to read as soon as possible, I have a Kindle, or the Kindle app on my phone.
  • Before I go to sleep, I catch up on Webtoons, and read fanfic recommended by my friends’ kids or my students.
  • And yes, I also still read print books and graphic novels!

I’m sure that most of your reading lives are equally diverse, and I can only imagine what my students’ reading lives include! So often I think our students don’t consider themselves readers because they don’t read print books except for class, but they may well devour (or write!) hundreds of thousands of words of fanfiction online, or listen to serial stories on podcasts, or read articles in areas of interest online, etc.

So how do we celebrate all kinds of reading as we build a reading culture at school? Chris Young mentioned a few things in their recent post on using Beanstack to foster a culture of reading, with Book Bingo that included articles and audiobooks. That’s a great start! Perhaps I could start the year with a board inviting kids to write down all the ways they read, and then work from there? Perhaps I’ll get amazing ideas from books about reading culture, as well. I don’t yet know how I’ll approach it, but I know I want to take into account all kinds of reading.

Tell me in the comments all the ways you and your students read!

Covers of all the books I read in the last twelve months, flanked by my favorite Webtoons.

2 thoughts on “Ways of Reading

  1. I love the variety of reading options you use and recommend! I use Libby for audiobooks and the occasional graphic novel, Hoopla for graphic novels and read-along books for my son, and for print books [picture books, graphic novels] I check them out from various local library systems [I accidentally got a card for a third library system]. My books I own at home rarely get touched because I prefer audiobooks!

    • I agree! I have library cards for two systems (and could have a third or fourth if I wanted), and I love the options they offer. I listen to so many audiobooks!

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