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Reading “sucks”

0915180751_HDR (2)I spent Saturday at the Indiana State Literacy Association’s fall conference. I was there hoping, I’ll shamelessly admit, to sell some of my books and to make teacher contacts. I don’t know what the attendance count was but, on a perfect fall day in Indiana, there were MANY teachers and teachers-to-be giving up their Saturday in the hopes of learning new things to engage their students in reading and writing.

I was able to listen to Pernille Ripp’s keynote address and some of her presentation on using picture books in the classroom. I didn’t have pen and paper ( and I call myself a writer!) to write down all the wonderful points she made, but these stuck with me.

  • Sometimes reading “sucks” to quote one of her students
  • Read aloud to kids even when they can read on their own
  • Let kids choose their own books
  • reading for pleasure should not involve book reports, etc
  • We tell kids reading for pleasure is important, so we need to make time for it every day in the classroom

I’d add that parents help develop readers when they continue to read aloud at home, model reading for pleasure and provide access to books.

Here’s a excerpt from the Kids & Family Reading Report from Scholastic (5th edition)

There are several predictors that children ages 6–17 will be frequent readers. Three dynamics among the most powerful predictors are:
• being more likely to rate themselves as “really enjoying reading”
• a strong belief that reading for fun is important and
• having parents who are frequent readers. 

Additional factors that predict children ages 6–11 will be frequent readers include reading aloud early and often, specific characteristics kids want in books and spending less time online using a computer. 

Additional factors that predict children ages 12–17 will be frequent readers include reading a book of choice independently in school, ereading experiences, a large home library, having been told their reading level and having parents involved in their reading habits.

We are busy! The calendar fills up with activities and chores.  So instead of say “someday”, put a family trip to the library or bookstore, where everyone chooses a book (no shaming the book choice 😉), on the calendar! Then, as they did in my kids’ classroom, have D.E.A.R. time! (Drop Everything And Read)

Author: Holly Niner

Holly Niner is the author of No More Noisy Nights illustrated by Guy Wolek, and The Day I Ran Away illustrated by Isabella Ongaro. She has had numerous stories published in children’s magazines, and her previous picture books were award winners. Mr. Worry: A Story about OCD, received the 2005 IBBY Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities Award, and I Can’t Stop: A Story about Tourette Syndrome, was the winner of the 2006 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award and a 2005 Bank Street College of Education Best Book. Holly lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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