Go ahead and take a stand…what do you think? Is it really something that teachers should spend their already demanding standard-packed, curriculum-filled, school days with?
Do we really have the time for something that is not highlighted in most scope and sequence plans for our grade level curriculum? After all, do we not read to and with our students a large part of every school day? It should be enough right? We are already sending a positive message by sharing so much literature with our children, aren’t we?
If you have to choose between spending time to focus on and plan time to motivate our young readers, when will be get time to actually read with them?
This is a topic that I’m sure most educators would take an equally divided stand. At least that is what I have experienced in my career. So I ask again…Is taking time out of our teaching days to motivate readers worth the time? Think about your answer. Then read on.
I am a reading specialist of 11 years and an elementary classroom teacher for the other 15 for a total of 26 years in grades K-5. If there is one thing that I have battled with both as a reading specialist and as a classroom teacher it is this question I posed to you at the beginning of this post.
I have spent many hours working with young readers as well as studying the art of teaching reading and the one conclusion I have come to is this…TEACHING OUR YOUNG READERS THE BEAUTY AND IMPORTANCE OF READING IN OUR DAILY LIVES IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS WE AS EDUCATORS CAN DO.
There…I said it. There are studies galore that confirm this opinion. Simply search this question and multiple articles will fill your computer screen. So many that it could overwhelm you. So why do we waiver when asked this question? Why do we continue to send our students to the classroom or school library without enthusiasm, anticipation, or a plan for finding a great book? Why do we continue to either not schedule time for our students to read books of their choice during our school day or even plan time for them to read but never speak of what they are reading? Why do we not showcase new and great books with the grandeur and excitement that major motion movie production companies do their new releases? Kids sure know what movies are being released…they should also know what books are being released.
Did you know that research shows students that enjoy reading for pleasure in their early years have a higher reading achievement than their peers that do not. Many who read daily as young readers can score 1.5 years or more higher than their peers who do not read for pleasure. Even these vague facts are pretty powerful and a very good reason to make time to plan reading motivation lessons and conversations into your daily plans.
This is the motivation behind my series “Raising Real Readers”. We need to teach our young readers that reading can be fun, exciting, and actually help them to be more successful in school. This doesn’t even compare though to the fact that reading can be a personal experience that is tailored so specifically to each person. It can fill voids that no other lesson can. It can provide young people with ways to fill their educational and personal needs. It can change their lives.
So…I leave you with this. As an educator I’m pretty sure that you are a dedicated one or you wouldn’t be seeking educational blogs. What kinds of learning experiences do you want to provide for your students? Lasting ones that can change their lives? If the answer is yes, than motivating your young readers is a must.
Follow my blog for tips, strategies, and resources on how to make this integration of reading motivation into your classroom one that is easy and a whole lot of fun for you and your students.
Until the next post…