When my daughter was born, I was absolutely thrilled at the prospects of rearing her. As an academician, I believed I was given an opportunity to practice my profession in my home, as other educators and scientists do in their professional lives. Residing in Colorado, I knew she would be afforded opportunities to become multilingual, culturally astute, politically aware, and globally and fiscally responsible. However, when our family moved from Colorado to several different communities that did not have the same academic expectations for children of all races and ethnicities, I decided to become the sieve in her scholarship development years. I sequestered her from the complexities of cultural practices that were negatively targeted against people who looked like her. This decision wounded me in ineffable ways; yet, it solidified my resolve to offer my children challenging educational experiences beginning with reading.
Growing up, my parents knew that they did not have all of the answers, but discovery through reading was their hope. I decided to create a culture of reading for my daughter as my parents and books did for me.
I cannot transmit a reading culture or a knowledge of reading to succeeding generations if I have not developed a personal culture conducive to what I am trying to teach. So the principles listed below are ones I live and teach.
Seven steps to creating a personal, family, class, or group culture of reading:
7. Choose a theme for the year and read 1 book per month—financial acumen,
history, literature, philosophy—get the picture? Good! You decide. Remember, think about what you want to know, learn, develop a strong opinion about, or just simply relax with fictional escapes. Ahhh…
6. Become friends with your librarian. This is so important! They can order, search, and suggest great reads. Our library on campus is chock-full of great reads! Get lost in the aisles!
5. Choose the same time of day or evening to read. Yep! Weekends are included! Baby steps – 15 minutes a day of uninterrupted reading is a good start. I read 1 hour every morning. I wanted to start my day with a pleasurable activity.
4. Alright, here is a tough one. When one decides to build a culture of reading it encapsulates more than just reading. What? Really? Yes! Remember, a culture is the “integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior.” It is my belief that reading is fundamental and surpasses all other academic measures! If we cannot read, what else is there! Soooo, what can you shift out of your life that does not model or align with your new way of behaving? Need a moment? Take it! Transformation is about to happen, and all I want to say, in advance is: Congratulations!
3. Keep a journal of what you are reading and why. This is helpful because a record of your development will remind you of the value of reading.
2. Share your book with someone else after each book you read. This is the “succeeding generations” connection. What you are doing is going to be contagious; however, it won’t be if no one outside your circle knows. Okay, I know you are wondering if Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. will suffice. No! However, it is a start. So, go for it! There is just something about that personal connection/interaction face-to-face with another person that communicates your voice about the book and reading.
1. Decide and write on a 3×5 card why you believe developing and cultivating a culture of reading is important. I have shared my story, now you write yours. When you do, stick it in every book you read as a reminder to maintain the course.
That’s it! See you in the library! Cannot wait!
Quality Enhancement Plan, Director Hopkinsville Community College