I just finished the most amazing teacher support book entitled “Disrupting Thinking” the main premise is that when thoughts or ideas surprise us, confuses us or conflict with previously held beliefs that a disruption occurs and we should pay attention to those disruptions in our thinking and examine them.
This book has done exactly what it’s title suggests. Disrupting the thought that reading needs to be a certain way, that all kids should strive to read novels, that they should be excited to have a new adventure to go on by simply opening a book. Not all kids feel this way and some may never choose to spend their time on a rainy Saturday curled up reading a great new book. As teachers we need to make room for that thought and explore other ways to get our students exposed to text not because they need to be these prolific readers but because we want them to be thinkers, responsible and responsive to the things that are going on around them.
In a world where anyone can post a link about “Breaking News” on social media and instantly it is before millions we as teachers (and parents) need to make sure that those we work with are prepared to think about the things they read, not just the headlines but between the lines. In Disrupting Thinking the authors (Beers & Probst) put forward a framework for how we should or at least could think about a text. BHH stands for Book (what does the text say, facts, details, purpose), Head (What does the text make me think about?, what signposts are present and why are they important?) and finally Heart (How does this text effect me? How does it make me feel and does it change me in some way?) This type of thinking can be applied to all forms of literature.
It does not matter so much if you become an avid novel reader as long as you read and think. As adults we don’t all read novels, some of us just read the paper everyday or week, others click those infamous “You won’t believe this” facebook links, Sports Illustrated or Muscle and Fitness, comic books or graphic novels. Whatever it is you choose to read just do so with your mind open to new ideas, new curiosities. As Beers and Probst say innovation never would occur if we all just sat idle in our thoughts and positions without acting on and looking for ways to improve.
While as a teacher and a reader I love when my students are excited about a great book they are reading, I am equally excited however to hear about some cool news article they have read (or even listened to) or the new superhero they discovered in a comic book. Reading is so very important but even more so is thinking about that reading and no child forced to read a text they don’t choose or care about will put in the time to really think about the text and let it strengthen or change their opinions.