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June 1, 2016

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Growing a Reader: All Grown Up

One of the most talked-about things here at Scholastic is growing a reader— how to get readers started, to get them loving books, and to get them to continue to love books throughout their lives. Well, I’m here to tell you that I am a full-blown success of the growing-a-reader plan. Here’s why.

A few days ago, I recently moved out of my childhood home and into my first apartment in New York City. I had about a week between signing the lease and moving in, which meant life was hectic trying to figure out what to take and what to leave. But I methodically began parsing through my room, bit by bit, tossing and packing. It was going well until I hit my bookshelves.

Tears filled my eyes as I sat and contemplated the contents stuffed in my shelves. I saw The Westing Game and marveled that the book had meant so much to me in fourth grade that I still hang onto it. I looked at The Bell Jar and was reminded of the first time I felt like I really understood how to critique literature. As I ran my finger along the spines of all seven of my Harry Potter novels, I reminisced about the countless nights I sat up reading them, attempting to prolong inevitable sleep. Seeing the Summer Boys series, I fondly remembered the summer that I devoured each and every one. There were also a few books waiting to be read, sitting there with the promise of adventure and great storytelling.

I’ve loved reading so much that books have been an escape from the real world, if only for 20 minutes. They’ve been there for me like old friends, and the memories and lessons in their pages have stayed with me.

If that’s the kind of emotion that you hope to see in your own children or students, encourage them to find the books they love. Help them discover that first book that will lead them into a world of imagination and wonder. Let them circle their choices in the catalogs or pick out titles at the Book Fair. They’ll gravitate toward what they’re interested in, and that will be their gateway book. While not all readers will be as voracious as I am, they still might find that just-right book that stays with them even after they’ve grown up and moved away.

 

Tori Leach is the Merchandising Coordinator for Storia and adores books so much that she had to work at a company that felt the same way. 

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