This week was back to school for me. I guess I should say back to schools because I provide hearing itinerant services to students in seven different schools within my large district. It was exciting and nerve-wracking to be working at a high school this year. I got to attend my very first English/Language Arts divisional meeting. I was glad to see a few friendly faces in the room of teachers I had worked with in different buildings at some point in my career.
You can imagine how excited I was when the divisional asked us to do a booktalk on the book that we enjoyed the most over the summer. (I booktalked Divergent even though I haven't finished it yet because I'm loving it!) As I listened to others share, I realized more and more people were apologizing for the "fluff" reading they did over the summer. It surprised me the first time but then others reiterated the fact that they read lots of "fluff" reading or "brain candy" and then got to the best book they had read...which I guess didn't count as "fluff".
I started contemplating the message we send when one book counts as an official read and another just counts as fluff. Does it even count at all if it's "fluff"? There were people who obviously enjoyed those "fluff" books or they wouldn't have read them. I get that some books are definitely more challenging to read or maybe more thought-provoking but I guarantee you that I get something out of every book I read that is a picture book, middle grade, or YA even though I am an adult. I might not be challenging myself as far as the sentence complexity or vocabulary goes (although, sometimes, I am!) but I am definitely learning more about books, and stories, and people, and writing, and authors. I am definitely gaining something from reading no matter what kind of books it is.
Being a model of a lifelong reader to is imperative to me as a teacher and a mom. I'm going to pay attention to any message I might be sending out about "fluff" books. I love all the books I read and most of the time I read them for fun because I want to. I don't think I've ever apologized for reading a book that I wanted to read...and I don't plan to start now!