Parents and teachers, I’m worried about the reading that is happening in our homes and in our classrooms. I’m worried that the reading we are doing is teaching children that reading is a chore and not something to love!
The reason this worries me is that reading is the foundation of education. How can we prepare children for school? How can we help students be successful in school? Read with them, read to them, listen to them read…everyday.
A note to parents (teachers, I get to you later!)
The difference I see in children who are read to in their first 5 years of life versus those who are not is day and night. Some children start kindergarten knowing their alphabet, the basic idea of what a word is, how pictures and words connect, and so on. They have the attention span to sit through a book, focus on the pictures, and even ask questions about the story. Without being read to early on in life, these skills take much longer to develop.
I’m also aware that life makes it hard to give such a simple answer. There are many reasons why children struggle in school including their family background, childhood experiences, disabilities and other reasons we can’t control. These things impact their education before they even start Kindergarten. I can’t simply say, “Read to your child and everything will be great.” I have taught students who have been read to multiple times a day since they were born and they are still struggling to read. I have also known students who have a daily schedule that doesn’t allow for time to sit down with an adult and read. Reading together is a luxury. If you can, do it! Even students who are up against a disability, reading can only help. Reading can never set a student back! It can only move them forward.
If a child is read to everyday from the day they are born till they start kindergarten, they will have read over 5,000 books! Cuddle up with a blanket and a pile of books and read together. Let’s create a love of reading in children.
At the bottom of this post I have listed and linked my son’s favorite books from his first 4 years of life! Just keep in mind that whatever books you buy for your kids, be prepared to read over and over again. The books I have listed are the ones that we’ve probably read the most but were the least annoying!
A note to teachers
I recently read this quote:
Yes. Yes. Yes! But I need to teach them comprehension skills. I need to make sure they are reading at least 20 minutes everyday. Can they infer yet? What about text structures? What about their fluency? Oh my dear teachers, the list of reading skills feels big and consuming. There is no state standard that says, “Make sure your students love to read!” Imagine how much more they would read if they loved it!
I still remember my 3rd grade teacher reading Indian In The Cupboard to our whole class. Somehow we were so motivated to clean up and get done early so we could sit on the rug and hear what was going to happen next in the story. She had the love of reading thing figured out and she passed it onto us!
So teachers, let’s have this be our number one reading priority for the year, to teach our students to love reading. Helping them find books on their independent levels that they enjoy and talking about it with them. Reading books as a whole class to model fluency, expression, and the love of reading! Having silent reading times as a whole class where they see you read too.
If nothing else, I hope this post gave you motivation and encouragement to read. To find your love of reading again! To inspire children to read for the love of reading!
Here they are parents, some of my son’s favorite books from his first 4 years of life! These are affiliate links. This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase from these links.