This month is library month. How many of your students like to read? Have you ever wondered why some students don’t like to read?
Many students who have phonetic and comprehension delays will shy away from reading. Students who have some form of learning disability such as ADHD or ADD will also withdraw from reading. Is it our goal as educators to turn our students into avid readers? How do we accomplish this?
If a student has poor grammar skills, most likely she/he will not succeed in other subjects that require reading fundamentals such as: science, and social studies, and will suffer with problem solving when it comes to math.
As a teacher, I tried making my reading lessons come alive. We played out characters in class, worked on book jackets and drew book covers. I always introduced the author first and compared characters to people students can relate to in their own lives.
I recently read the book “White Teacher” by Vivian Gussin Paley. It told how a teacher cultivated her students’ different learning needs in the classroom by motivating and stimulating them regardless of race and different social and economic backgrounds. The rarity of this approach is that it took place in1973. Mrs. Paley introduced a reading of the bus strike that occurred in Montgomery. She introduced Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to her kindergarten class by re-enacting the bus ride scene in Montgomery. She lined up chairs in rows depicting the inside of a bus. The students were the passengers, Scotty a Caucasian boy – played Martin Luther king Jr. (He really wanted this part), and Rosa Parks was played by Clarice, an African American girl. Learning was hands-on and fun. Everyone was engaged and understood the racial implication.
Reading has been a lost art for many students, but it is up to “us,” as educators to shine light to what is being taught. If reading was taught in an engaging manner 38 years ago, there’s no reason why it can’t be done now, especially with the amount of technology that we have to stimulate and enhance the class that Paley didn’t have.
Please share with us any creative reading ideas you may have. What do you do to stimulate reading in your class?
This month in conjunction with the Book Jacket contest, we’ll be giving out two autographed books by famous children’s Award- Winning authors: Christopher Paul Curtis who wrote Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission and Katherine Paterson, who wrote Bridge to Terabithia