On Saturday I presented at a Literacy Conference. Each time I do, despite my specific topic, I speak about the empowering nature of literacy.
Yes, reading and writing are part of the curriculum. However, they are so much more than that! If we, as teachers, view reading and writing as a form of empowerment, our students will too. They will begin to realize the relevance beyond the four walls of our classrooms. As Kate DiCamillo says, “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.” The gift of literacy will enable them to function in our world, find meaning and purpose, and experience life more fully.
Besides reading aloud, one of the most effective ways to encourage our students to read is to read what they are reading! When I see a student deliberating at the book bins, I go over and say, “I’ve read this one. I think you’ll like it!” Checking in periodically helps too: “What part are you at?”
These casual conversations and moments shared through the pages of a book are enough to motivate many young readers. Habits and attitudes develop early. Take time today to nurture those readers and writers in your classroom!