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Why I Can’t Read…

Posted by MrsVance on June 8, 2008


I grew up reading anything and everything. When I was about seven I was hospitalized for appendicitis. After spending a few hours reading all of the signs I could get my eyes on, I finally thought to ask for books. Just imagine, sick child, worthy request, my library was stocked for the next several years.

Mostly I read fiction. The Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, Little House on the Prairie, Jane Eyre. And many many that I will never remember.

The characters in these books were as real to me as any person. I gladly gave up sleep and play to spend time in their company. While current day all night reading sprees are very few and far between, I still love a good story.

But I fear this early and extensive immersion in fiction has left me with an impaired ability to read non-fiction critically. The willing suspension of disbelief that is so necessary to the enjoyment of fiction is a handicap when reading non-fiction. I am working to develop a more robust ability to read critically.

I wonder what this insight should mean for my teaching. For my sixth grade reading students I should probably encourage more non-fiction reading. Does anyone else have this problem, and how do you handle it?

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