Fake Reading and Dreaming

Last summer I had the incredible opportunity to spend three days bunking with teacher friends in the dorms at St. Lawrence College and workshopping the days with Penny Kittle and Kelly Gallagher. They shared their new book, 180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents, and we grew and felt entirely changed afterwards.

The inspiration began a process of change in me and sustaining it, practicing it, implementing it continues to challenge me. Although these three days last summer were pivotal, I am still struggling to shift my students from “fake reading” to real reading.

We are currently reading The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline and with each passage revisited, I gain more appreciation for the writing, for the message. Students have done close readings, have engaged in discussion groups, have used open questions to look at the craft of the writing, but still, I see them consulting online sources instead of relying on their own abilities and insights gained through reading. They are hunting for the answers from the voice of another. They don’t trust their own abilities to read.

The recognition of this coincidental hunting motif in the story and my own quest  to engage adolescents in real reading makes me smile, and I decide to bring as little with me on the journey so I can run through the forest of reading, hanging on to my ability to dream.

7 thoughts on “Fake Reading and Dreaming

  1. I”m taking a course for my Master’s Degree right now and find that I don’t trust myself as a reader sometimes! The reading is hard, and it’s so easy to find a YouTube video of someone talking about it instead. And bonus if I can find a 5 minute video instead of a 20+ minute lecture. I love to read! So I’m not sure what is happening. I am very worried about getting right answers for the professor, even though he doesn’t seem to worried about that – it’s more about the participation in the conversations (which I think is how it seems to be in your class.) Modern media has ruined us??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh…… a really good point. This makes me think that I have to spend more time talking about them making meaning then there being one meaning.
      Thank you for this! You really got me thinking about my next steps!
      See you this weekend and maybe we can start our pedagogical book club ☺️


  2. If they’re reading, then it’s not fake reading in my book. You’re already making headway. I think it takes a long time (and a significant amount of reading) to feel confident about our own interpretations. Baby steps, dreamer, you’re heading the right way!

    Liked by 1 person

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