Since I started reading (and actually being read to as a small child) I have imagined visiting the places in my favorites stories or books. The settings always came off the page to me and were so visual in my mind. I was able to see myself investigating along the creek bed with Laura or looking for clues in my neighbor's backyard with Nancy Drew. As I got older, this fixation on story setting only fueled my desire to travel, so travel I have!
As this post goes live, I will be just returning from another of my travel destinations, Alaska. We will have taken the tram up for the incredible mountain views, and sailed out into the icy ocean to see the glaciers, and we will have spent hours watching the mating whales. I am so excited, but my husband is giggling like a little girl as the day for our trip comes closer and closer. With Michner's (Alaska: a Novel, available as an e-read from Amazon!) description of the great land beyond, he is hoping to take advantage of every waking moment.
And then there is the teacher in me, thinking about documenting all of my travels to share with the students out there who may never have the great opportunities to which I have had the privilege. How can we teach them to "see" the places and to visit them with their minds as they read about their favorite characters? Even better... How can we encourage them to read to the point that they find a way to travel for themselves, just so they can see those places they have already long envisioned?
My advice: It's simple...
While I completely understand that so many are now forced to teach to the test, and to assign reading materials that come from a great and mighty list, encourage choice reading. Every single day! Allow your students to take just a little time, at any grade and in any subject area, to curl up in their chairs, on the floor, or in the window sill (my favorite place) to read about one of their favorite characters or to travel to that place of their dreams.
With the school year coming to a close in many parts of the country, this little suggestion may go even further. Just imagine getting your students hooked onto that favorite character or into the newest series that they just won't be able to put down... all summer long!
good read. So many lessons in one simple book!