One of the greatest pleasures is to get lost in a good book. Getting lost because of a good book can also be satisfying – I know, because it happened to me. I was commuting home after a long day at work, re-reading one of my favorite books, Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis. The words on the pages pulled me into the story, and I was soon transported from the overcrowded bus to the world of George Babbitt and his fictional town of Zenith, which was so unlike my own hometown. About 50 pages later I glanced up from the text and realized I had missed my bus stop. Of course, there was a silver lining to this misadventure: I was able to read even more pages on the bus ride back to my own neighborhood.
My father-in-law, Ira Bender, knew the answer. Although he's no longer with us, this story about his love for peach ice cream provides evidence that some kinds of choice are better than others.
Ask the right questions.
"It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” ~ Eugene Ionesco
Students spend the first four years of school learning to read. They should spend the rest of their lives reading to learn. But they can’t learn from texts if they lack the skills needed for deep and meaningful comprehension. Our education system dedicates those critical first years of school to developing phonological awareness skills so students can recognize the words in texts. We must provide the same kind of skill-building focus on comprehension so students truly understand what they’re reading.
My favorite childhood memories are the weekly visits to my family's local library branch in New York City. My mom and I would go there each Friday afternoon, and she always let me decide which books we'd bring home. Walking around the children's section, I'd stand in awe of the shelves loaded with books. So many choices! Such a place of joy!