Teaching your child to love reading should start at home, but it need not (and should not) end there. Schools need to be much more than places where kids learn rote facts and figures. They should be institutions that nurture our children and teach them to love learning. As we all know, there is no better way to create a hunger for knowledge than to get kids to love reading. Here are a few ways that schools can encourage independent reading and literacy.
Schools should set aside time for kids to read independently. This time should be a priority and should not be time for kids to do homework or assigned reading. Rather, it should be a time for them to explore the kind of reading they already enjoy, while encouraging them to branch out to new ideas. By letting them explore reading on their own, they will learn to love the process.
Literacy Rich Environments
The new Common Core standards are supported by literacy rich reading environments. Things like word walls, shelves full of books and reading materials, quotes from literary sources and access to literature through digital media and print are vital. Children are naturally curious and if they are surrounded by literature, they will eventually explore it!
Bring Back School Libraries!
Libraries are unfortunately being devalued by the people who make decisions these days. This is a critical mistake and anyone who has benefited from having access to a library knows it. Not only should districts fund strong school libraries, they should incorporate the library as an active part of their curriculum.
The more time kids spend in libraries during their formative years, the more likely they are to learn to love reading. Funding school libraries is not just a good idea; it is a vital investment in the future of our children. These libraries should also be staffed by trained librarians with a solid knowledge of literacy programs.
Active Reading Programs
Campaigns like the Million Word Reader program are an excellent way to get kids involved in loving literature and reading on their own. Issue the challenge and let the kids rise to meet it. Create a reward system for those who do. A day off school in the late spring doing fun things like visiting a local pool or park is a great incentive to get kids reading.
Encourage New Experiences
If you have a child who is reading, but is sticking to only one series or author, encourage them to branch out and try new things. Schools can provide reading lists that cross-reference similar styles and genres. This will encourage kids to see that there are other collections out there that they might enjoy as well. As they explore, their reading world will grow with them.
There are many ways schools can encourage a love of reading in kids. Regardless of the reason kids read, the process builds collaboration and perspective as well as an appreciation for other people and cultures. Take a look at our eBook, “Are You Like Me?” and then feel free to explore our website for a world of fun and exciting literature and reading tools.