Steel Trapp: The Academy: Ridley Pearson
Share a Story - Shape a Future: Day 4: Old Favorites, New Classics

Share a Story - Shape a Future: Day 3: Nonfiction Books and Outdoor Reading

ShareAStoryLogo-color Today is Day 3 of the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour. Today's host is Sarah Mulhern from The Reading Zone, talking about using nonfiction to hook readers. [Official Share a Story logo to the left created by Elizabeth O. Dulemba] Sarah says:

"Over the past five years I’ve noticed that my middle schoolers frequently pass over nonfiction books because they tend to see them as “research books” and not something to be read for pleasure.  This year I have made it a goal to include more nonfiction in my classroom and in my booktalks.

It’s working!  I’ve had more students than ever pick up nonfiction books- biographies, memoirs, informational books, literary nonfiction, and everything in between.  Access to nonfiction opens so many doors and today’s posters are here to help us find more doors and windows to open in the house of nonfiction reading with readers of all ages."

Sarah's contributors share a variety of posts about using nonfiction to engage readers of all ages.

Today's writing prompt questions are:

  • Do you have an image (photo, chart, illustration) from a nonfiction book that has stayed with you, even though you don't remember many of the details about what you read?
  • What kind of reading material has inspired your dormant reader to become an avid reader and book seeker?
  • Where is your favorite place to read? Do you share your secret spot with your child?

I'll take a stab at addressing the third question. I don't have one particular favorite reading spot. I'll read anywhere - in bed, on the couch, on a plane, while waiting in the doctor's office. However, I have always loved reading out of doors. When I was a child I liked to read up in a tree in the side yard, and sometimes up on the roof (I had a dormer window - it was pretty easy to get out to the roof, and then move over to a flat part). In college I used to slip away to read on a bridge in a secluded, wooded part of the Duke Gardens. Shortly after college, I spent one magical day, while on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine, reading on a lounge chair on a little peninsula, surrounded by ocean on three sides (reading Patricia Cornwell novels and drinking wine coolers, it must be confessed). When I was in graduate school, I spent a lot of time reading by the pool in my apartment complex (I have distinct memories of ruining a copy of The Firm, by getting it hopelessly wet). Mheir and I once shared a memorable Disneyworld vacation in which, every other day, he would golf, and I would sit by the pool and read (with park visits on the days in between, of course).

To this day, one of the ways that I look back on whether or not a vacation was successful is whether or not I was able to spend a least a little bit of time reading in a beautiful outdoor location. You can see a photo of my most recent vacation reading spot here (Maui). Technically I was indoors for that one, but I was right next to a huge open window (no screens or anything) to the beach, looking at palm trees, and listening to the ocean.

As to whether I'll share my outdoor reading adventures with my child, when she's old enough, well, I don't kow that I want her to hear about the whole reading on the roof thing. But I certainly like the idea of introducing her to the joy of being outside, in a beautiful location, with a breeze running through her hair, and a great book in her lap. That I'll be more than happy to share.

© 2010 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.