A Culture of Reading - the “WHAT?”
It’s not just enough for a school to say that we’re providing structured time for independent reading. We need to rebrand reading and develop a “Culture of Reading” where reading is the norm. It’s expected from every single member of the school community and we celebrate reading at every chance. Culture of reading means that everyone is working towards the same goal of having every Liberty student graduate 8th grade reading on grade level.
Part of the challenge in this is getting students to read for pleasure and work to remove the negative feelings that some students have with reading. The Culture of Reading at Liberty is our mission to help students find joy in reading through various strategies so that they can they can make progress toward our Big Goal.
A Culture of Reading - the “WHY?”
How many times have you heard a student (especially one who is a struggling reader) tell you that they “don’t like reading?” It’s a vicious cycle – a student never develops the love of reading; they are a struggling reader; they don’t read; their reading level stays stagnant.
Reports on adolescent literacy show that a positive attitude toward reading, fostered through independent reading, results in higher literacy levels and higher achievement. A 2003 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study concluded that: The most important predictor of academic success was the amount of time students spent reading and that this indicator was more accurate than economic or social status; that the time spent reading was highly correlated to success in math and science; and that the keys to success lay in teaching students how to read and then having them read as much as they can
A Culture of Reading - the “HOW?”
First and foremost, students should see teachers as readers. They should observe teachers reading and talking about books and reading habits.
Teachers as readers:
1. Students see them reading a variety of texts
2. Talk with students about their reading lives
3. Talk about how their reading influences them
4. Talk about new vocabulary in their reading and how they go about understanding it
5. Tell students about the reader relationships they form with students, family, and friends and with fiction and nonfiction characters
6. Tell students about the questions they have while reading
7. Tell students how they select something to read, why they sometimes do not finish a text, and why they sometimes reread a text
8. Talk to students about who influences them as readers—who inspires them
9. Tell students about troubles they have had with reading
10. Tell students about the strategies they find helpful as readers
11. Tell students about what they are learning from reading
12. Find connections between their reading and their teaching of students
13. Teach passionately
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