Slice of Life Story Challenge March 13 -The Important Task of Growing Life Long Readers
A conversation with my wife, Vicki late this afternoon has reminded me how important it is that teachers become expert at knowing children’s literature. Vicki and I worked at schools miles apart today, but we both returned home talking about student attitudes to reading. Over a cup of tea, our debrief landed on the important issue of how much teacher behaviour influences a young reader’s attitude to reading.
We both noted that occasionally teachers lament that some students, usually boys, are just not into reading. When you ask teachers whether they share aspects of their reading lives with their students, they frequently indicate that while they encourage the reading habit, they do not openly demonstrate aspects of their personal reading identity.
It is increasingly evident, that teachers who make their reading lives visible to their students, and regularly talk ‘books’ and ‘authors’ do not encounter student resistance to developing positive reading attitudes. Such teachers work hard at knowing their student's reading and recreational interests. They research good quality children’s literature and they are able to make informed recommendations to their student readers. They bring good quality literature titles to the attention of their students. In short, they live the life of the joyfully literate professional they are striving to be. They are constantly feeding the needs of the developing readers in their care.
Vicki and I work with such teachers each day. They stand out. They foster the love of reading. They are constantly promoting great reads to anyone who will listen. They are living examples of life long readers.
Their enthusiasm for reading pours out of them. Their students reflect this obvious joyfulness for literature. They have caught the same bug. They are well on the way to becoming truly independent readers. They are well on the way because their teachers are constantly modeling what effective readers do. They are mindfully teaching the skills and strategies required for meaningful reading. These teachers understand that teaching reading is more than a set of 'comprehension skills.'
Children who have grown to love reading; who see reading as essential to their well being as oxygen, are a natural by-product of such teaching.
As we talked, I told Vicki that yesterday while working with a Grade 3 class, a young girl quietly told the class during share time, following the reading workshop. ‘I think I will be a reader for all of my time.’ I smiled broadly. I also saluted her teacher.
As we finished our cup of tea, I thanked Vicki for raising the topic of reading, as I now knew what my slice would be for today…