Monday, January 21, 2013

Reader Monday

Happy Monday! You know what that means! It's READER MONDAY and today I'm excited to introduce you to Teri Filkins! I met Teri on line and she is full of life and fun! Not to mention an amazing teacher, which is probably why we clicked. . .I use to teach and I admire her job! What better guest than a teacher who encourages her students to read??? Take it away Teri. . . .

Thank you for having me here today, Tonya, I am really enjoying your blogs! I am in awe of how you are able to accomplish so much with your days while also entertaining "us" with really great reads!

For several years, I ran the "Reader of the Month" program at our middle school. Once a reader was selected ( not necessarily a straight A student, but more importantly a "book worm"), I would meet with that student to give them a list of pre-interview questions. I've taken pictures of readers laying under the school marquee, kidding around in the library, strutting their stuff by flashy school lockers. The best part was always sitting down and finding out about these kids.

When did they remember first loving to read? Who was the first person that they ever remember having read to them? What didn't their folks know about them and books? Where did they read? What did they read?
What did they read?

Those kids could run off genres and authors to me in a flash! How fortunate I was that never did a one of them flip me that same question. My reading diet was as odd as could be.

Most of the time, I was reading books based upon the grade I'm teaching. Since 1984, I've taught every one of them. Each grade had its own treasures.

Then, came the summers and it would be my turn!! I selected books based upon places I longed to be: beaches, oceans, quaint towns, and pirate ships.

At times, I needed an adventure. I'd get on my spy gear and go some kind of NCIS crazy exploit.

Even now-a-days, I can't always stay in the same genre, even if I love it. I need to explore. I fly from one genre to another. I'm a beach bum, a sassy witch, a torn neglected wife. Yet, I'm more than that. I am the breezy wisps of salty air flowing through the Cape windows. I am the tempest storm pounding the beaten ship.

The biggest change came for me when I was battling an illness. My oncologist therapist warned me to stay away from negative books. She advised reading fun and carefree novels for they would help me to stay happy and uplifted. That was when I entered the realm of chick-lit. Truly, this arena supported me as an optimist. Ah, perfect fit. So perfect, it wouldn't wait for summer to come.

My last Read was The Light Between Oceans,by M.L. Stedman, one of those books that puts me smack dab on a lighthouse in the middle of nowhere, with characters I want to root for. At the same time, I was reading Ashes of Roses, by Mary Jane Auch, for my 8th grade class. This book follows a family from Cork, Ireland to America, through the hard immigration process, to unfair labor practices and into the belly of the horrid Triangle Shirt Factory Fire. Now, I am sliding into the scary Gone Girl ( Gillian Flynn). I am putting on my spy gear. It's all a cycle.

Next, I know I will be more than hungry for some Indie chick.

It's just too long of an answer for a middle schooler. Eyes would glaze over.

Do you know what you read? Have you ever thought about why you read what you read? It is an interesting look inside of your reading soul.

When I am deciding upon which book to read, I am thinking something even more. The decision is, "Which adventure am I going on next?"
Teri Filkins is a Literacy Teacher at Moreau Elementary School and Oliver W. Winch School in South Glens Falls, New York. In addition, she serves on the Board of the Iroquois Reading Council, part of the New York State Reading Council and an affiliate of the International Reading Association.


  1. Yay Ter - great blog, your students are blessed to have such an amazing woman teaching them <3


    1. Wow! Thanks for the wonderful vote of confidence, Mar!

  2. I agree...your students are very lucky to have you!!! My youngest daughter has a love for reading just like me. But my oldest 13 year old daughter hates everything about reading! She used to enjoy it when she was younger....and that's why it makes me so sad! I know you can't force people to love reading but it's hard when you understand how great the benefits are from it! If you have any advice I would welcome it! :)

  3. Hi Kellie! So many readers tell me that they weren't readers, until a certain book came along. My son didn't care to read until the arrival of Harry Potter. He was a bit old, he felt, for the series and so he'd hide the books under his bed when his friends stopped by. Since then, he's read many, many novels. I think so much depends on what turned your daughter against reading. Have her friends flown past her, has a fun past time turned into a testing challenge? I often tell students to think of skiing. Some skiiers may be on the bunny hill and some may be on the green diamond trails. There is no difference in the intelligence of the two skiers. It all comes down to the amount of time and practice they've had at it. In addition, in school we are reading to exercise our mind (like gym class exercises our body). At home, we can relax with a story. Your daughter needs to fall in love with reading just for the sake of reading again. She needs an easy and light read. There are graphic novels ( The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente ) or those based on movies (Because of Winn Dixie ). You can just leave books around or try a deal ( "Let's both read this book and then we'll go and see the movie together. It'll be neat to see which we like better.") In school, I have Boys Read or Girls Read lunches. Invitations are sent out, pizza is ordered, and we all get together to talk about "reading." I can tell you know not to push her too much right now or she'll just go the other way. Sigh...Keep setting a good example! That's the best of all!