I read this quote last week and it has stuck with me. It reminds me of the one about teaching a person to fish and giving him the tools to eat for a lifetime.
It is my hope that in some capacity we are able to teach our students to love reading. Sure, some of that will come from exposing students to great literature, regardless of the age group or reading level. But there are other ways we can teach students to love reading. Explore these three with me:
Model, Model, Model - Modeling good reading strategies is of course a reading teacher's second nature. We are constantly thinking out loud and pointing out what we do as we read different genres of texts. But we also need to model our own love of reading. Making time to show students what you are reading on your own is one way. Actually reading silently in front of them is another. It seems like we get so caught up with prepping, meeting and checking email that we often don't get to do this in front of our students. (At least that's me.) However, I do find plenty of time at the end of the year for this. Every June, I make a point to bring my students outside and into our school's garden to read silently for 30-60 minutes. We all have our own books and quiet space. It is a very enjoyable time.
Provide Free Reading Time - Along those lines, we need to make sure students are reading every day. Whether you call it DEAR or SSR or any other name, independent reading is a very important part of instilling a love of reading in our students. And of course, the best way to become a better reader is to READ. Allowing students to choose their own material is also an important consideration. I know personally how assigned reading put a damper on my own love to constantly have an open book in my hands. I wasn't given free reading time in school, so I always want to provide that for my students.
Make Reading Highly Accessible - Books and other reading material is everywhere: in public libraries, school libraries, classrooms, homes, and don't forget about the vast library available on Big Universe! Often teachers, as well as librarians, will group books by author or genre to make choosing a book easy, but I have found that there are some students who can stand in front of the most organized and concise classroom library and not know where to start. Sometimes you really need to walk a student through the process of choosing a book. Maybe another student can make a recommendation for a classmate. An eLibrary might also be the key to giving these students a fun, interaction with a variety of books.
It's not just about teaching a student to read, but it's about teaching them to enjoy, dare I say love to read. That's a tall order, but something we should strive for, for with reading comes unlimited learning and opportunities.