So what are the implications? The first thing about this little fortune that strikes me is that it can easily be reversed: Leaders are readers, and readers are leaders. In fact, it’s hard to tell which might come first. If you are a reader, you are armed with the knowledge that can make you a leader. You understand the world better and can gather information to make decisions that help you lead a better life. I think of the readers in our classrooms. They are usually held in high esteem in the classroom community (especially in the primary grades) - someone to look up to, to want to be like. So whether they choose it or not, the readers in our classrooms are usually the leaders.
When we think of it the other way around (the way it was written) – Leaders are readers – I think it speaks to the responsibility we bear as teachers. We are the leaders in our school community, so it is up to us to keep informed. We need to read professionally so that we can bring the best strategies to our students and layer our thinking with the latest research and understandings. Teachers who are readers are the ones colleagues go to for ideas or for help in thinking through a difficulty.
It is perhaps coincidental that one of my fourth grade students asked me this week why the Statue of Liberty is holding a book. That question sparked a discussion in the small group around symbols in general, and what the book symbolizes in particular. Although we have since found out that the book is a law book, our discussion centered around the book as a symbol of knowledge, and the importance of knowledge as it relates to freedom. It was a high level discussion for these struggling readers who understood the importance in their lives of being able to read well.
Leaders are readers. What ideas does it spark for you?