Learning to Read and Reading to Learn: Where does One End and the other Begin? #isedchat

Do you ever get something completely different out of a book after multiple readings?

There was a conversation at our school recently about “reading to learn” and “learning to read.” When does that tipping point happen? Or does it? After thinking about it a bit, I realized, at least for me, both those things are life long endeavors.

Just a couple of summers ago when I took several Spanish courses (something completely new to me), I was asked to read out loud in front of the class. I was so concerned with pronunciation – the phonics and fluency of the language, that there was no room in my brain to also comprehend what I was reading. At that moment, it was easy to empathize with some of my struggling second grade readers.

I just finished reading aloud The Secret Garden to my class (a book I hadn’t read in a few years), but having read Carol Dweck’s book Mindset and hearing her speak about it a couple of years ago,  one of the that story’s themes – growth –  took on new meaning. I was also moved because of seeing a colleague recently step out of his wheelchair as did a character in The Secret Garden. Even in another book I read every year to my class, The Tale of Despereaux, I found more light and more dark than I had in the past. It’s pretty clear that the author of Despereaux, Kate diCamillo did not name one of the characters Chiaroscuro arbitrarily.

And when I read new research in education and come across new terms and phrases, or read statistics with more scrutiny, I am continuing to ‘learn to read’ as I ‘read to learn.’

So to answer my my own question – at least for me, they are both lifelong pursuits. Now the question remains, how do we teach both these things at every level of school while respecting and validating everyone’s perspective? Reading is so much more than a skill.


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