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Posts Tagged ‘Antoni La Cava’

Promoting a love of reading has been taken to a new level by retired Italian school teacher, Antonio La Cava. 

In 2003, after teaching for 42 years, La Cava built a portable library containing 700 books.  Dubbed the “Bibliomotocarro”, he has been driving his portable library around villages in southern Italy ever since.

Reminiscent of my own childhood memories of hearing tinkling music outside my house which heralded the arrival of the local ice cream truck, the sound of the organ announcing the arrival of La Cava’s Bibliomotocarro brings a flock of excited children to his mobile library. 

It takes an experienced teacher such as Antonio La Cava to sum up my own feelings about how reading is being approached in schools:

A disinterest in reading often starts in schools where the technique is taught, but it’s not being accompanied by love.  Reading should be a pleasure, not a duty.”

Just recently I published a post on NovaNews, my other blog, about my own conviction that the joy of reading is being killed by the requirements of the English curriculum in our schools which dictate that novels, referred to as ‘class texts’, should be read, analyzed, discussed and analytically pulled to pieces so that students develop a sharpened appreciation of an author’s craft.

Writing in this post I found myself lamenting the continuing disinterest in promoting a love of reading by English teachers and republished a post I wrote some four years ago:  Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading?  The following extract from that post highlights my strong belief that we need to focus more on developing in our students a love of reading.

Over the years, I’ve had lots of ‘heart-to-heart’ chats with senior students about books and reading habits.  Many have expressed their dislike of class texts and the inherent requirement to analyze texts to death.  Many of my chats have been with reluctant readers, who openly confide that they just don’t like reading.  Teasing out the reasons for their disinterest has almost always come down to their experience of being required to read specific books that they have found boring and then having to spend copious amounts of time – often a full term – analyzing, discussing and handing in written reports.

These conversations always leave me feeling bereft.

I’ve spoken with English teachers often about this issue, but always have the same facts thrown at me: students need to study class texts over an extended period of time so as to hone their analytical skills, their critical thinking skills and their appreciation of the classics. This ‘full stop kind’ of response invariably allows no openings to my pleas to  incorporate additional or alternate opportunities aimed at inspiring students to read, read and read some more – just for the joy of it!

Yes, I’ve also faced the argument that I’m not an English teacher who has an allocated number of periods a week within which to teach a curriculum and ensure that students complete inherent required assessments.  I’ve also been reminded that I’m a Teacher Librarian who has lots of time to spend dreaming up, creating and staging a range of enticing literary activities.

Well, yes, I guess that’s correct.  A big part of my job as a Teacher Librarian is indeed to inspire a love of reading.  And that’s just what I do and will continue to do for as long as I work as a Teacher Librarian!  I make no apologies for this!

I’m passionate in my belief that reading is a core skill which underlines all educational achievement.  We need to ensure that we inspire students to read, to read anything and everything they possibly can.  We need to ensure that students leave our classes and schools with an embedded love, desire and appreciation of just how much reading can bring to their lives – forever.  Reading does not just fit into English or Library periods, but is a skill which extends across all aspects and subjects of the curriculum.

As a Teacher Librarian I constantly grapple with the issue of engaging students with literature.  Over the years, I’ve devised many an alternate approach to put books into the hands of students in my school.   Many of these alternate approaches were incorporated into Literary Festivals I organized at one school.  I have also blogged, written and presented about some of the many activities, programs and events I have organized over the years in my library sessions.  If interested, have a read of this post: Engaging readers: Tried and tested ideas that work!

Perhaps it’s time for all of us – secondary school English teachers and Teacher Librarians alike – to step back and take a look at the nature of our program content and question whether what we are doing is encouraging or discouraging our students to become lifelong readers.

NovaNews: Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading? November 8, 2015

 

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