I think that reading diversely can take many different forms. It can be reading non-fiction instead of fiction. It can be reading about characters that experience diverse events. It could even be reading a longer or shorter book than you normally do. To read diversely, I think we need to personalize what that means to us. Diverse reading is going to look different for everyone. When it comes down to it, I think diverse reading means expanding our reading horizon without getting burnt out. Diverse reading is great, but not if it comes at the cost of hating to read. You have to find that sweet spot!
For me, I need a plan if I’m going to read diversely. Does that mean I think you NEED to have a plan? No. If winging it works for you, go for it. I just know that if it’s not written down, I’m not going to do it. That’s where the book bingo card has come in handy for me. This may look like an attempt to suck up, but I promise you, it’s not! To prove it, here is a picture of my planner (before it gets filled with all my notes for the week). I theme it and coordinate all the stickers. Prior to the stickers, there are just a bunch of white boxes.
So yeah, you could say I like plans. 😉 Here is what a picture of my bingo card looks like at this point in the semester. I would say I’m doing pretty well. There are three titles that can’t fit and I just wrote at the bottom. I can say for certain that if I didn’t have this chart, I would have a lot more than three titles on that list..That’s the balance part though! If I forced myself to pick every book based on the bingo list, this reading challenge would feel like a chore. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far, and feel like in the process, I’ve shifted to a more diverse mindset.
As far as helping students, I think that we just need to provide them with as many recommendations and resources as possible. Like I said, diverse reading should be personal, so we can’t teach how to read diversely. Exposure is the key. I think encouraging dialogue amongst classmates is a great thing to practice. Have students review books to each other. Let them tell the class when they have a great reading experience, and when they don’t. The more they have a chance to interact, the more they will broaden each other’s reading horizons.