Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Naked Reading

Naked reading is dropping everything and reading, anytime, anywhere. Teri Lesesne came up with the phrase when she discovered that her 8 year old granddaughter had a habit of grabbing a book straight out of the shower and sitting on a footstool in her closet, undressed, so she could read unencumbered.

Ms. Lesesne went on to write a book titled "Naked Reading," about encouraging young people to become lifelong readers. The instructors from my Teen Lit class posted this excerpt from the book. It has nothing to do with reading in the raw, but it does contain a very nice poem:

"Sometime last year, a librarian in South Carolina came up to me at the end of a workshop and told me she was going to email me a poem I would appreciate. How I wish I could remember the wonderful person who sent me the following poem. It speaks volumes to me and to all those whose hope it is to connect kids to books and reading. I place it here at the end of this book in the hope that it will speak to all of you about the important work we do."

To the Woman (We Think You're a Teacher) with the Books on the 2 Train

By some anonymous students

On the platform for the 2 train
you stand with a book in your hand
the pages open
Which is how you enter the train
Sometimes you smile, or frown
Once you even cried
on the train
when you were reading Night
and a man sitting across the aisle
said he cried, too, when he read that book
and we thought,
we want to read that book
so we did
And then you were reading all those
basketball books
by Walter Dean Myers
so we read those too
speeding along on the 2 train
one time you saw us reading Slam
and you said
I love that book
and do you think Slam is going to make it in high
We do, we think he's going to make it
Then you were reading some really hard stuff
Epistemology of the Closet, Postmodern Narrative
and we tried those, but we think you have to read
the books those authors have read, if you want to read
their books.
Our favorite is when you are reading poetry
Picnic, Lightning
and you lean back against the seat
and smile
and keep reading the same page
again and again
we do that now and it's really nice
Last week you were reading Life of Pi
and we rushed out to buy it
So we could be in the lifeboat
adrift in the blue, blue sea
with the boy, the Bengal Tiger, and you
If we don't see you next year
on the train
Maybe sometime we'll bump into each other on the
You'll know us because
we'll have a book in our hands.


  1. my oldest daughter gave me a book for mother's day. she tells me that i instilled in her the love of reading. what an honor for me! mothers, read to your children when they are young. this is great, simone. i love the imagery of a little girl so excited about reading that she can't be bothered to dress.

  2. well i, for one, now have the image of YOU reading naked burned into the grooves of my brain for all eternity. don't tell me you didn't try this at home!