We often think of reading as a solitary activity. And in some ways it is. But even when reading alone, reading is first and foremost a conversation. It is a conversation between the reader and the author. This often sparks an inner-dialogue within the reader. And more often than not, this leads to a dialogue with another person. The urge to share the experience with another person is almost inevitable. Whether it is talking about the book, or actually reading the book together.
One thing I have noticed in this first semester of Bibliopolis, where I’ve been interacting with readers of all ages, is that an almost universal component of the reading identity is wanting to read to and with other people. Time and again, I get surprised by the kids who initiate reading to others. It’s not just the “best” readers, as we might suspect. And I think it’s a powerful part of the process of growing as a reader. Sometimes you read to someone younger, who you’re only a couple of steps ahead of in life and in reading-life, or sometimes it is something like, “Hey, listen to this!” to your peers. When I was teaching high school, I observed this happening time and again during lunch time, even between a couple of senior girls who would read parts of their favorite books to/with each other (I promise, they were very mature, well-adjusted, and intelligent students!)
All this to cue today’s reading snapshot, a picture of Ashley from Gracepoint Berkeley church, who is in kindergarten, reading to the younger kiddos (and Auntie Kim) during babysitting.