Writer Lynda Mullaly Hunt was a reluctant reader until a wonderful teacher helped her fall in love with books. Her passion for literature led her to her first career as a teacher.
Lynda says she discovered a trick for turning her students into careful readers: let them be the teacher.
She handed out some of her own stories to her students - stories with lots and lots of mistakes. "They were terrible," she says. "Off topic, deadly boring." Lynda would go out of her way to make them awful.
Then she handed each of her students a red pen and invited them to mark up her work. "You be the teacher," she told them. "Fail me if you like, but you'd better explain why."
She says her students gave her "a lot of F minuses." They had a great time circling various problematic sections. They'd write, "why don't you try this?" and "could you think about this?" up and down the page.
Lynda encouraged them to be honest. And they were. Brutally honest. Playing teacher to a page of poor writing made them more conscientious about their own work - and more appreciative of reading material that followed the rules. It became more pleasurable to pick up a book when you didn't have to fight your way through bad grammar and purple prose.
You can hear more from Lynda Mullaly Hunt on the episode of her book FISH IN A TREE.