The Joy of Reading by Donalyn Miller and Teri S. Lesesne (Heinemann 2022) is a beautiful book for educators about how we can help develop a love of reading with the children in our lives. With a focus on what the joy of reading is and how we nurture this joy within our students, Miller and Lesesne make a strong argument for letting children have plenty of time for free reading and lots of access to books.
Much of what is said in The Joy of Reading seems obvious to me, a homeschool parent and a regular reader of books both for my own joy and for current or future reading with my children. I found myself right at home during the discussion about what the joy of reading is, why time and access are essential, and why we should allow students to choose their own reading material. These are concepts I have long believed in, and it made me sad that my girls (who are in public school this year) don’t have as much time to self-select and choose to read on their own.
The most valuable portions of The Joy of Reading were the final two chapters. These chapters addressed honoring a reader’s natural response to reading and why discussing books in a community environment helps build on the joy of reading even further. Reading this book made me excited to be a part of a book club again sometime! The only teacher talk came in this section
The Joy of Reading is truly a gorgeous book. With full-color watercolor illustrations, pull quotes from literary experts and student readers, stylized lists with book recommendations, and colorful sidebars, just picking it up is a treasure. As a parent-teacher education book, The Joy of Reading felt a little bit self-explanatory, and yet reading it brought the joy of reading into my own life.
Note: I received a review copy of The Joy of Reading.