One of my main aims as an educator is to facilitate a reading oasis, a space where young people come to be readers, together.

Imagine a space where a room full of teenagers have been sucked into respective worlds of their choosing, but there isn’t a screen in sight. Instead, hundreds of books of varying genre, subjects, and reading levels line the walls. New books are consistently introduced, pushing an awareness that there’s always something to read next.

Each student has a book they’ve selected and are invested in; they’re reading for joy; reading as a vehicle of self-knowledge (mirrors) and empathy (windows).

Reading as Mirrors: This lens positions reading as a tool for accessing knowledge and problem solving; reading as the evaluation of choices and information. Students nurture skills to make meaning on their own, to access their agency through literacy.

Reading as Windows: This frames reading as empathy and socioemotional development. Students identify then reflect on emotions and considerations that surface, because they read.

Ultimately, reading positions the reader as a citizen of the 21st century. Reading is required in order to navigate our ever-increasingly complex, interconnected world. Through this blog, I attempt to catalog both my learnings as a teacher, and books I’m learning from.

Posted by:Shannon Jin-a Yi-Lamborn

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