Lyz is our WRADvocate from Iowa. She is a blogger and writer, and her writing has been published on Babble.com, Mommyish.com, YourTango.com, Glo, AOL and more. She has also been published in magazines like Real Weddings and Guideposts, Yellow Medicine Review and The Louisville Review and her writing has been syndicated on MSNBC.com and The Today Show website and anthologized in The Contemporary Reader.
We are very lucky to have her as a WRADvocate, because as it turns out, she is a self-proclaimed social media ninja. We're quite confident she'll be creating a lot of "hits" for WRAD on the internet!
1. Can you share some of your earliest memories of reading and how they impacted you?
I was a little insomniac. So, to stop me from roaming the halls at 5am, my parents gave me a bed lamp and told me I could read if I couldn't sleep. I read so many books snuggled under my covers listening to my sister sleep soundly.
2. How has what you've read influenced you professionally?
Professionally, I am a writer. But that's not what I set out to be. I wanted to be a lawyer or a teacher. But reading is my first love and when you love them, words become a part of you in a very elemental way. In the end, I think I write because it's the only way I've discovered to read and get paid for it.
3. What advice would you give to teachers, parents and caregivers who want to reach their struggling readers?
Not all readers are created equal. My sister is a prolific consumer of books, but because of an eye problem she had early on as a child, she's hated reading. She instead listens to books on CD or on her MP3 player. In the end, for most people, it's not about the reading, it's about the story. You don't hook kids on books by telling them it's good for them. You hook kids on books by telling them there are pirates between those pages.
4. Do you have a memory of someone reading aloud to you that changed you in some way? How did that change you?
I shared my memories of reading aloud here. But I also remember my mom reading me The Little Princess, just to me, with seven brother's and sisters that lone action made me feel incredibly loved. I also read my daughter The Bridge to Terabithia when she was 8 weeks old, while I was trying to get the hang of breastfeeding and the catharsis of being able to cry through the book about something that to me was so difficult (breastfeeding) was very helpful.
5. Will you share with us some final meditations on the power of the read aloud and of reading in general to the emotional lives of children and for all people?
Oh my, I think that assumes more depth in my mind than I have. My relationship with books is deep and complicated, but it's my own. I wish that for everyone.