Reading and writing go hand in hand! This month we celebrate libraries and today we celebrate National Encourage a Young Writer Day. What a great month for readers and writers!
According to the American Library Association website, “School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs. First celebrated in 1985 (as School Library Media Month; the name was changed to School Library Month in 2010), every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student's educational career.” This years’ theme is Libraries Transform. As we dig deeper, this statement is true regardless of which library you use: public, school, or even an online library. You have access to information that can transform your life. You are able to visit far away places, learn new skills or information, which allows you to escape from the mundane tasks of daily life. How can you encourage students and allow books and writing to transform their lives?
- Identify student interests for future book recommendations.
- Encourage all formats. Magazines, e-books, or traditional books.
- Set aside time to read aloud to your students.
- Give students time to explore books on their own.
- Allow time to write (Daily Journal writing, Plays, Poems and Original stories)
As a child, I would spend hours in our musty old library in my home town. I would curl up next to the stacks and escape! These are cherished moments I reflected upon as I eventually finished graduate courses that helped me become a school librarian.
I LOVE my job! I have “regulars” as well as those who admittedly tell me “I hate reading”. I find this the most exciting part of my job! I’m ready for the challenge. I attended a workshop given by the “librarian action figure” Nancy Pearl. Her wit and experience has changed how I view my job. Try incorporating her idea about being a shoe salesman when you encourage book selection.
First, ask what was the favorite book they have read. This gives you an idea about the genre. You can then make recommendations based on genre. She gives students choices in sets of three. Two under the same genre and one “roque” selection.
Next, have them read the first sentence. If the book doesn’t catch you in the first sentence, it may not be the book for you.
Lastly, I encourage the student to read at least one chapter before they give up on the book. By encouraging them to never give up, they may try their hand at writing.
I never thought I was a very good writer. I felt like I had missed some major lesson when I began my first college level writing course. What did I lack? Thankfully, this course was taken concurrently when I was in high school. My English teacher, was so kind. Basically, she said I needed time and experiences to really help to become a better writer. She was right, the more I wrote, the more I began to feel comfortable writing! I made my way through college and graduate school and finally realized that I wasn’t too terrible.
Years later, I began writing freelance for several companies. I call myself a “professional blogger”, I enjoy writing because I feel it's my “escape” because it’s actually therapeutic. I am faced with the task of writing to educators to encourage them to promote writing.
Today is National Encourage a Young Writer Day! I am thankful for my high school English teacher who took the time to encourage me and for my childhood library experiences. Because of them, I am able to encourage you which you then will have the opportunity to encourage many others. Libraries and educators have the power to change lives. What will you do today to encourage reading and writing in your classroom?