Time to Read!!!!

Today is International Literacy Day and I want to celebrate with Dr. Seuss! Wouldn't we all want to celebrate with the great literacy leader?

Across the nation, student literacy levels is a great concern. We test and test and test their reading skills, but in our literacy-dependent world, our students are not improving. Why is this? It's simple... Our kids no longer learn to LOVE reading.

Before the Internet and the advancement of our technology savvy world, we loved to read. Reading took us places we could never imagine on our own. The books swept us away to the past, soured us into the future, and encouraged us for our futures. In our favorite characters, we saw ourselves and we planned our lives based on their adventures. Whether we were a Hardy Boy or a Nancy Drew, we were engaged in our books, and reading fueled our curiosity and our desire to read and learn more.

Times have changed. So, how do we get kids to love books again? I have a few ideas...

Start Young. Teach students to LOVE reading as soon as we get them in the schools. Bring them books and read to them until they have the skills to read for themselves.

Read with Excitement. Make every book and every page an amazing event. Read with enthusiasm and enjoyment. Yell when the characters yell and cry when the characters cry. Make it the great adventure you know it should be.

Share Your Love. Tell your students how much you LOVE to read. Encourage them to read for enjoyment, not just as an assignment. Set an example by talking about your favorite books or your current reading list.

Allow Time for FUN Reading. Provide students choices in their reading and encourage reading for fun. Even high school students love to have fun with reading and will jump from their seats when you announce it's "Carpet Time!"

Make It An Adventure. Travel through time or into space with the reading you do in class. Read to the most climactic point, and STOP for the day, creating anticipation and curiosity. Role play the scenes from the book to make it real for your students.

Encourage Encouragement! Organize service-learning projects to allow older children to encourage younger children to read. There is no greater influence than that of a peer or an older student, and one that loves reading can encourage a classroom of others to take on that love of reading for themselves.

Think about it. Do you remember your favorite childhood book? Or maybe it was a series? I remember mine. I read them still! :)

To get a jump start on your literacy lessons in your classes, try this Service Learning Unit with Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat and The Lorax. This unit could be used with any upper-elementary, or even middle school aged, students who have the opportunity to work with younger grades or lower reading level students. And don't think that Dr. Seuss books are too "low" to read to the upper grades. The lesson is not on the CONTENT this time... The lesson is the LOVE OF READING!

And as for my favorites...
Charlotte's Web (still makes me cry)
Nancy Drew
Encyclopedia Brown
Little House Series
The Pigman (once I was older)
Anything Dr. Seuss

And, of course, my own series, Souper Sales, written as a 4th grader for the kindergartners in my school. Where are my royalties for those books?

What were your favorites?
Michele Luck