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Celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources.
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NEA News

Who Inspired Your Love of Reading?

Educators from around the country share their literary spark.
young readers
Published: December 19, 2023

NEA Today asked educators who first inspired their love of reading. Here are some responses, or check out the whole list on NEA Today Facebook. Thanks to a lot of teachers and librarians as well as dedicated parents (Hi, Mom and Dad!) we have a lot of well-read educators!

"My mom, Irene Heeter Mong, who actually was a teacher, made reading magical. She read aloud to my brother and me, and her fourth graders, every day. Thanks, Mom!" – Mary Anne Mong

"Peter Gamble at Lowell High School. He’s passed, but I still remember him igniting my love of lit in all forms." – Diana Pineda

"My fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Ohe. She read to us and encouraged us. I now teach fourth grade and do many of the same read-alouds she did." – Natalie Hamrum

"Mrs. Kelley Norman at Baker County High School. I didn’t fall in love with reading until I was in my junior year. I missed out on so many great adolescent reads! Luckily, I became a middle grade ELA teacher and read them with my classes!" – Angela Suppa Callahan

"Mrs. Dorrie, my kindergarten teacher who taught me how to put the sounds of letters together to read the word. I remember the first time it made sense and began reading everything I could find." – Joyce Maloley

"Mrs. Toelander, my third grade teacher in Las Vegas, in the early ‘80s. She would read the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ books to us." – Nicole Atkinson

"Sherry Crane Lindsay Wold reignited my love of reading when I was a junior in high school. I hadn’t picked up a book in years that wasn’t assigned reading. But when she challenged us to read books from a recommended reading list, I was determined to read as many as I could!" – Katie Yale Whitehurst

"My mom; the library was a sacred place, and my fifth- grade teacher Mrs. Nightingale. I can still hear her voice reading aloud in my mind” – Jennifer S. Johnson

"My mom, who was a teacher for 40 years!” – Valerie Ann Kennedy

My second-grade teacher put ABC cards up on the board and she said if you learn the letter sounds you can read! I only had her for half a year, but I learned how to read and became a book worm – and a reading specialist when I got older!” – Moe Song

"The librarian in the children’s section of my public library. She let me check stacks of books every week. When I returned them, she asked me questions." – Susan Abrahamson

"Funnily enough, Sting! Who was a former teacher. The Police had a song, “Tea in the Sahara,” which I found out was a chapter from Paul Bowles’ “The Sheltering Sky.” I read that book and I never looked back. Still one of my favorite books! – Andrew Rea


Celebrate a nation of diverse readers with these recommended books, authors, and teaching resources.
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The 2023-24 Read Across America Book Recommendations are Here!

Looking for ways to bring diverse titles into your classroom? Need ideas for classroom discussions or learning activities? Then check out this year's calendar with monthly book recommendations searchable by reading level and theme.

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National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.