Reading with emotion

Posted: June 16, 2017 in Reading


Reading has always been an event for me. As a child, my mom instilled an importance to education, structure, rigour and the traditional 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic). As I grew up, reading became a personal journey, an event where I could escape into a fictional realm, a different narrative and live something that might otherwise be impossible. I experienced various professions, trips around the world, exciting adventures and accounts of historical events. Books opened my eyes to a person I wasn’t or a life I couldn’t live at the time.

As I went through the education system, I learned about different books; the classics, fiction, non-fiction and so many more. Almost always, the books were chosen for me and as a conformist, I did as I was told. Luckily, in my personal time, I did enjoy reading and I was able to experience different emotions as I read the books I chose. Many years later, as I began as an educator, I adopted the same practices of prescribed readings, mundane questions and traditional literary analysis. The one thing I failed to remember: the importance of reading with emotion. The one quality that was so important in my personal reading journey didn’t translate into my teaching practice.

In the last while, I was able to regain and restructure my schedule to start reading more. As I already read a lot of pedagogical books, I wanted to regain my love for reading with emotions. I recently wrote about my experience after reading the book Wonder. Yesterday, I had the chance to read the book Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon from beginning to end. There are certain books that you love and there are certain books that give you that ultimate emotional experience, and this one hit me like a train, in a good way.

There is one passage that really spoke to me:

“I’ll have to think of all the hope I had. Of how I fooled myself into thinking that I was a miracle. Of how the world I wanted to be a part of so badly didn’t want me back.”

As I read these words, chills ran down my spine, goose bumps appeared on my skin, and tears ran down my eyes. I start remembering my years as a high school teacher, walking the halls, teaching classes, interacting with students and wonder: how many of my students feel like this on a daily basis? How as an educator, can I ensure that all kids see themselves as true miracles and to not feel excluded or unwanted? How do I, myself, remember this when I feel the same way and sense doubt in my life? When we talk about diversity, equity and inclusiveness, isn’t that what we want for everyone? It has been one day since I read this book and I can’t shake these thoughts from my mind.

As we plan our lessons, run our schools, prepare activities and field trips, promote our school, find creative ways to change our pedagogy we cannot lose sight of the only true mission we have. We must remind kids that they are miracles, that we love them, that we want them to learn and that we make time for them. If we put this into place…if we lead with the heart  and keep people’s emotions, feelings and values as drivers to our decisions, not only will our school flourish, our kids will become caring, empathetic and kind citizens and adults, who will take care of one another and transform the world with unimaginable beauty.

I encourage you to take the time to read this novel. Take the time to read with emotion. Take the time to feel vulnerable, to feel empathy and think of others. As educators, we are there for our kids and for our community. Make every single person you interact with know that they matter. Emotions are driving forces in helping our society grow; let us not suppress them, let us embrace them! Pick up a book, read it, feel it and most importantly, share it. Reading can change lives, reading can move mountains.

  1. Nicole taylor says:

    I will admit I struggle with reading or watching movies that ‘hurt your heart’ and will steer away from them. They are not emotions I want to visit very often. Making me think Roman, making me think!

    • Catherine says:

      I love how reading can take you anywhere and draw you in to be part of story . Very powerful. Another great insight shared by you. Thanks

  2. […] thoughtful blog reflection on reading the classics vs. reading for the heart, and a call to child-centered educ…   via […]

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