This will be my 15th year as an educator. I teach English Language Arts and ESL. My job and my joy is to recommend books to students in the hopes they will grow. Many students come to me who love to read, in fact they get in trouble for reading when they should be doing other things. (It’s tough for me to tell them to stop reading.) For those students I delight in expanding their universe by introducing them to new genres and sub-genres, and in having discussions with them about the books they are reading, the characters they fall in love with, cry over, and the plot twists that surprised them. Some students come to me that hate reading. Over the years I’ve been able to help them see that reading is not as bad as they once thought, reading is pretty cool, or reading is this amazing world they have never really seen before. Sometimes I can only plant the seeds for others to nurture or the readers to stumble upon at a later time on their own. A love of reading is not developed overnight. Patience and persistence is the key!
How does this love of reading happen? There are many excellent books written on the topic, but simply put, it’s getting the right book in front of them and being patient. You can’t make a child love reading, you must gently nurture and grow a love of reading. The challenging part is finding that right book. It requires knowing the child well. It requires trying a wide variety of books. Sometimes they latch onto a book you would never dream would grab their attention, so go wide. If it interests them, let them read! It may not be great quality literature, but let them read to grow that little seed of love. Over time, talk to them and guide them into new territories, but don’t try to force them to love Shakespeare before they are ready. Patience. I could talk all day about this and there are many excellent books written on the topic. For more in-depth information let me guide you to some of the great influencers in my life as a teacher. My favorite authors on this topic are Nancy Atwell, Penny Kittle, and Donalyn Miller. For grammar, see Jeff Anderson. I know that seems unrelated but if you read Mechanically Inclined you will see how learning grammar is tied to reading.
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