Mindful of the Messages We Send About Their Book Choices #TeacherMom

My 8 year-old has recently discovered how much she adores graphic novels. I don’t know why it took me so long to help introduce her to the genre; after all, I already knew how much she loves comics, and I could sense that while she’s a strong reader, she just isn’t yet ready for text-heavy pages. So the floodgates have opened:

Jennifer Holm

Ben Hatke

Ben Clanton

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Raina Telgemeier

Dana Simpson

Geronimo Stilton

Even as we have enjoyed discussing each of these books (and laughing at how quickly she devours them), I can’t help but wonder: what if I held the common belief that comics “don’t count” as reading? What impact would that have on her growth as a reader? What impact would that have on our relationship?

Yet, when I consider my 4 year-old’s reading choices lately, I realize my response has been much less supportive. The reason? They all consist of massive encyclopedia-like texts that are just not fun for me to read to him. Books like:

Clearly, both my readers need equal support and enthusiasm from me in order to feel that their growing reading identities are valued and valid. I realize it’s time for me to spend as much time browsing the library shelves and placing holds for my son’s reading preferences as I do for my daughter’s, not to mention to embrace his bedtime story choices!

Only when we work to catch our sometimes subconscious responses can we find ways to do better to nurture our diverse readers.

What messages, good, bad, & ugly, have you sent to your kids over the years? How has that adapted? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.

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2 Replies to “Mindful of the Messages We Send About Their Book Choices #TeacherMom”

  1. I learned this lesson when some of my most challenged readers found an old copy of “Captain Underpants” that had somehow escaped my carefully filled bookshelves in my 2nd grade classroom. I’m sure it had snuck in there from a donation of books I had received, or a garage sale haul, but regardless, those boys found it. I was silently apalled at myself for providing them with something so anemic by way of literature’s standards, but as I watched them read it while acting like it was giddy contraband, I realized I wasn’t helping ALL my students find the joy of reading if i wasn’t allowing them the chance to read something that made them feel connected to a book – even if it was about underpants.

    1. Kim! Great to hear from you. And thank you so much for sharing your experience–I think most have us have undergone the Captain Underpants quandary. What a gift to your students that you drew the conclusion you did! Hope everything’s going well for you, my friend, and thanks for stopping by!

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