Book reports. That's the first thing that comes to mind after reading this quote. Has anyone really ever learned to love reading by doing book reports? I'm thinking not. Like Donalyn Miller says, there are often so many strings attached to reading that it turns into schoolwork instead of an enjoyable activity that students will choose to do even when their lives are removed from the classroom.
When I think of things required of students, I like to think of them in terms of what I as an adult would or would not like. So far this summer I've read 11 books and not once did I complete a diorama, take a computer test, complete a packet of some sort, fill in a worksheet, and the list goes on. I did, on the other hand, talk about what I was reading with friends, make comments on Facebook, and make a few recommendations as well. I even chose to jot down some of my favorite quotes and make notes about how some of the books could influence my teaching. If my adult reading behaviors can translate into the classroom, then the fewer strings attached to reading, the better. What would happen to our readers if we teachers created an atmosphere similar to what we as adults enjoy? When possible, let's cut a few strings, let them read, and find out.
I'm off to run 13.1 miles. Bonus points for anyone who remembers what city I'm running in and who I'm running with. :)