I’m of the opinion that a love of reading is the first doorway into a lifetime love of learning. Books are the food of voracious learners, who cannot wait to turn the page for a new perspective, a new story, a new idea, or a new inspiration.
Unfortunately parents and educators increasingly find that students have a great dislike of reading. They are not interested in the stories, they have difficulty engaging with the characters or topics, and quite simply- they would rather be doing something else. Instead of books being seen as exciting or eye-opening opportunities to escape into a story, they are perceived as chores that must be completed as part of daily academics. Students are being asked to close read, analyze, highlight, predict, and compare stories at every stage of the reading process. Instead of being able to read for the pure enjoyment of a story there is this constant pressure placed on students to perform academically. While I understand that these are important skills to have, I can’t help but think that implementing these practices without balance creates the risk of teaching children to hate reading.
My biggest fear is that a generation of children will leave the education system without the desire to ever pick up a book for personal learning or enjoyment- and I think that would be a frightening world to live in.
So what can we do to bring back a love of reading? How can we walk this fine line between teaching necessary skills and fostering positive attitudes towards literature? These are the issues I would like to address through a new weekly link up “Story Sunday”.
For a while I’ve been posting Book Talk Thursdays, where I’ve highlighted some of my favourite books. But recently I’ve wanted to delve deeper into these issues. I no longer want to limit posts simply to book reviews, but rather expand the conversation to how a love of reading can be fostered in children, and how this passion can be ignited in the classroom.
- Is there a certain book your students have loved?
- How do you make novel studies enjoyable for your students?
- Do you have a story about a tricky student who hated reading? How did it work out?
- Do you have any great strategies for encouraging a love of reading in your classroom?
- What are you reading in your classroom right now?
- What activities do you use to engage students with a story?
- What books have personally inspired you as a teacher?
- How do you plan an engaging classroom library?
- How do you make reading exciting for your students?
- How do you encourage reluctant readers?
- What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them when you link up during Story Sunday.