This 4 minute listen is an inspiring story about the work it takes to get better at reading. Oliver James ( https://www.tiktok.com/@oliverspeaks1) was willing to put himself out there to share his journey from illiteracy to becoming an avid reader. He compares it to exercise/fitness training.
Even though I’m a visual art teacher, not a language arts teacher I encourage all my students to force themselves to read no matter how much they hate it or how difficult it is for them. Reading is the #1 way to learn. I’ve also begged parents to read to their kids. It’s a cycle; The more you do it, the better you get at it, the easier it is for you, the less you hate it, the less you hate it, the more you enjoy it… etc. etc
I encourage all of you to listen and share Oliver’s story. Former students need to know that rather than be embarrassed by their poor reading skills and devaluing reading for their kids, they can overcome their deficits and then help their children’s teachers (you) help their children. Current students, esp. 6-12 need to recognize how much powerful and less gullible reading makes them and how valuable it is even if they think it’s boring or hard and as Oliver James says in this interview, it’s easier to learn and build skills when you’re in school than it will be as an adult.
And finally (and I need to do this myself, I’m not being an elitist, judgemental snob, I’ve become really lazy about this, honestly) WE ALL NEED to be disciplined about reading every day and promoting & encouraging reading with our students- even Art, Music, PE, & Math. Reading is learning. There’s very little other critical thinking like analysis, interpretation, synthesis and application without reading.
I bet it takes you less time to listen to this interview than it did to read this email. I DARE you to resolve to make reading matter.