Reading Startitis

too many books

 

I recently read a blog post on reading startitis. (I have tried valiantly this morning to find it so that I could link to it, but I simply have no idea where I saw it, and no amount of scrolling through Feedly or Googling terms I remember from the post has turned it up. So my apologies to the book blogger whose original idea this is.)

Reading startitis is most definitely a condition I suffer from. I decided to round up all of the books that I have started and been reading at over the past two weeks. And that’s the photo you see. This doesn’t include any books that I have finished over the past two weeks (not very many–probably because I have too many books going at once). It doesn’t include the books I’m reading with my kids (we’re in the middle of a couple of chapter books right now.) It doesn’t include my audiobook. It doesn’t include anything I have started but haven’t picked up to read over the past two weeks (that would make the stack rather larger).

Do I have some sort of reading commitment-phobia?

Reading Attention Deficit Disorder?

Starting something new seems more appealing lately than picking up something I’m already reading. I wonder if Nancie Atwell’s notion of “the reading zone” isn’t relevant here. When I have had longer chunks of time to myself over the past few weeks, I have been working on my classes, not reading. I am reading in little dribs and drabs of time, a few minutes here, a few minutes there, perhaps half an hour before bed if I can stay awake that long. Those few minutes of time stolen in the middle of a busy day don’t provide the ideal conditions for “flow”. How can I get into the reading zone if I can’t sit still with a book for more than 5 minutes? No wonder I am finding it more appealing to perpetually begin a new book.

This experience makes me wonder how relevant and meaningful it is in our English Language Arts classrooms to begin or end class with 5 or 10 minutes of “free reading.” I know that I can’t have a quality reading experience if I only have 10 minutes to read. I need a sustained and longer period of time to sink into the world of my story and get into “the reading zone.”

Or is any amount of reading better than none?

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