WRADvocate Profile: John Schumacher

John Schumacher is a teacher-librarian at Brook Forest Elementary School in Oak Brook, Illinois. John graduated from St. Xavier University with a Masters in Teaching and Leadership and from Dominican University with a Masters in Library and Information Science. He has taught English in Seoul, South Korea, and is starting his eighth year at Brook Forest. John serves on ALSC’s Children and Technology committee, AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, and two readers’ choice award committees. He was a judge for School Library Journal‘s 2011 Trailee Awards and recently became a FableVision Ambassador. In his spare time (ummm…what’s that?) he reads, travels, and blogs at Watch.Connect.Read.and Two Libraries, One Voice. John is a 2011 Library Journal Mover and Shaker.

John closely works with our WRADVocate in Iowa, Shannon Miller on Two Libraries, One Voice. Together, they have connected with over thirty schools and authors for WRAD! In addition, Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes will be visiting his school in March as part of his WRAD celebrations.

1. Is there a particular book that has changed your life in some way and why?

To answer this question, John submitted a video instead:

2. How has what you've read influenced you professionally?

I read 1,705 books during 2010 and 2,100 books during 2011. Every book influenced me professionally. The more I read, the better  I am able to put the perfect book in a child's hand. Gary Paulsen says it best, “ Read like a wolf eats, read when they tell you not to read, and read what they tell you not to read. Read all the time, and turn the television off.

3. Do you have a memory of someone reading aloud to you that changed you in some way? How did that change you?

I will never forget when Mrs. Villender, my second-grade teacher, read aloud Charlotte’s Web. If I close my eyes and allow my body to relax, I can transport myself back to her classroom. I see her standing at the front of the room, reading aloud one of the most beautifully written books. It is the first chapter book I remember a teacher reading aloud. At a young age, it taught me the importance and value of reading aloud.

4. What do you think is most essential for teachers, parents and caregivers to do in order to nurture a child to become a lifelong reader?

“Reading is not optional.” –Walter Dean Myers

I think teachers, parents, and caregivers need  to  respect a child's reading choices.  Let kids read what they want to read. Encourage children to try new genres and formats, but please respect their reading choices.

I think children need to see authors as real people. Take young readers to author and literacy events at local bookshops and public libraries. Sometimes this gives them the confidence they need to become active readers.

5. What book do you think young people should not miss?

Wow, this is a tough question. Only one book?  It would make me extremely sad if  my students transitioned to middle school without having read at least one Babymouse book. Sister-and-brother team Jennifer and Matthew Holm know how to keep kids turning pages and laughing.  If you have not read Babymouse, run to your local public library.

To learn more about John, follow him on Twitter on @MrSchuReads
And on his websites: