Perspectives on reading

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.

–W. Somerset Maugham

I was inspired by a post that I read recently about inquiring into reading  by Mary Wade that I found through a link on Kath Murdoch’s Facebook page. I started thinking about the reading my students were doing and why.

I posed some of the questions from the blog post to them and adapted some to be more connected to our unit. I used the reading my students were doing as their provocation. These first three I borrowed directly.

  • What does it mean to be a reader?
  • How does being a reader compare with the act of reading?
  • What is our responsibility to read? (for ourselves? for the world?)

The second question sparked a very interesting discussion as I don’t think the students had ever made the distinction between ‘reader’ and ‘the act of reading’ before. I am not sure that a lot of them had ever considered themselves as a ‘reader’ either – they thought that was other people or a title that someone else had to bestow on you.

Our unit is about perceptions of self, identity and personal, social growth and development so I tweaked the next question into

  • How does reading shape our communities identities?

And the last we discussed through the lens of perception

  • What are the perspectives on reading? Why are there different perspectives on reading?

The students were really engaged and made the connection to our key concept of perspective from the unit. They then set themselves the challenge of writing more questions relating to another our other key concepts, that is change. I was stunned by the questions they came up with:

  • How can we develop our reading?
  • How do we change and develop through reading?
  • How does reading change and impact the world?
  • How does changing what you read help your development?
  • How does reading change our perspectives?

The engagement with these questions has been deep and ongoing. The students keep coming back to them and adding thoughts and new ideas and understandings to the posters they are creating. I have suggested sharing the results with their parents on Seesaw but they won’t let me as they ‘haven’t finished thinking yet’.

Long may they continue to think! I am thinking about revisiting this inquiry with our next unit and through the lens of the different concepts we will visit then. Looking at reading through migration and the key concept of causation for example. I wonder too if this will cause a change in thinking about change and perspectives on reading? What are the questions you might pose?

If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.

–Haruki Murakami

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