May is Get Caught Reading Month. Have you ever walked by someone who was reading a book and felt the desire to say something? One of the best things about seeing a stranger reading a book is that you feel like you get to know a little bit about them. If you’re a book lover, seeing another book lover doing their thing on a park bench, a bus seat, the subway, or in a coffee shop brings up some questions such as
1–Did they pick this book or was it a gift?
2–Is this book something they’ve wanted to read for a long time?
3–Is this a genre that they love or hate? Are they trying something outside of their wheelhouse?
4–What do they think of the cover?
5–Are they loving this book or hating it?
6–Have they read other books by the author?
7–Have I read this book? What did I think of it?
Seeing someone reading is an opportunity for an instant conversation. It is a moment of mutual shared connection with another person that could turn into a fun book-related discussion, even if it is only until the next stop on the line. With the popularity of e-readers and reading apps on people’s phones, seeing someone reading an actual print book can feel like seeing a rare bird in the wild. It can feel kind of exciting!
While you might not converse with another adult you see reading because it may feel awkward to you, conversing with a child you see reading might be something you’re willing to do, and it can be important to that little reader.
First, remarking on a child’s reading shows them that other people beyond their family also like to read. It makes reading that much more special than it already is.
Secondly, asking questions of a little reader helps them retain information about what they’ve read. Ask them to tell you a short summary (What’s that book about?) or give you information about what genre it is.
Third, as part of the conversation, you can help them make connections to other things, such as a movie, another book, or an event. If a child is reading a book about a cookie, you might tell them you ate the best chocolate chip cookies over the weekend and ask what their favorite cookie is. Making connections between a book and real life is an important reading skill. Make sure you get caught reading all month long!