Inspiring the Love of Reading

In my last post, I Am a Reader (again), I took you through my reading life journey; one that began strong, sizzled and faded out then rekindled. I want this reflection to guide my instruction as a reading teacher in the middle school classroom. I do not want the following to be the narrative of my students reading life:

Then came middle school where reading class became the chore that I wanted to escape. The read alouds stopped, the book sharing stopped, the laugher and enjoyment about reading stopped. I hated what my teacher was doing to my favorite thing to do. Read the textbook, complete the workbook, analyze the story, dissect the sentence (Science is the only classroom dissection should take place), take a test, and repeat… On top of this, my free time was devoured by the mundane non-engaging homework tasks assigned by the dreaded Reading and Writing teachers.

Jeanie Cullip – I Am a Reader (again)

During this time my reading life began to fade away, yet it stuck around for a little while longer due to the relationships I had with the librarians at my public library. Without these reading models I probably would have lost it here in the 6th grade.

What can I do differently?
What can I do in the classroom for these students that my teachers could not do for me?
What can I do for those students who have not even fell in love with reading yet?

Pernille Ripp states in Passionate Readers, “We must take responsibility for the year that we have with our students… to inspire the love of reading.”

No pressure, right? But, the responsibility of pursing any act of teaching seems impossible if you think about it. We must remember that this “change (or maintenance) of a reading life starts with us but ends with them” (Ripp). We can only do so much but we must DO SOMETHING.

Click on Image for Link to Article: Strategies That Work,
Teaching Comprehension for Understanding, Engagement, and Building Knowledge, Grades K-8 by Stephanie Harvey

You do not need to be a mathematician to figure this formula pictured above. Students are in need of access to good quality books, they need the ability to choose the book they want to read, and they need to be given the time to do so. This speaks volumes toward what I should provide my students in the classroom to open the door to the love of reading. This is not a magical spell and all of our students will not be overcome by some mystical powers if completed; however, I believe (given my past and research) this is a recipe for getting the right books in the students hands and allow the books to do its magic!

As a reading teacher, I believe it is within my role to become that reading model; reading and talking about reading right alongside them – just like the librarians did with me. This is why I have made it a summer goal to begin reading through the books within my personal classroom library so that I may better serve them this year. I will be showcasing my #bookaday adventures in our classroom with a bulletin board for inspiration as well as prove that I am willing to do what I am asking them to do.

The bulletin board which is currently stuck in my head has the words: Reading a Latte or Reading a Latte in 6th Grade or Lets Read a Latte this School Year or We’re Reading a Latte in 6th Grade (anyways you understand where I am going with this right?) The middle of this bulletin board has a large coffee cup filled with sheets of paper which look like book covers. Each one of these book covers will be of a picture of a book that I read over the summer and they have access to through our classroom library and/ or on the Epic app. I scoured Pinterest for some inspiration and the following are pictures that are helping me through this task:

This showcase will be a springboard toward many book talks of the books that I read and begin the discussions with what they read and what they would like to read.

How has your reading life guided your instruction in the classroom? In what ways are you modeling the reading life to your students? Please share in the comments below.

Today’s post is the second of many reading responses to Pernille Ripp’s Passionate Readers. This summer I will be percolating on every word, reflecting on the pages as I prepare my transition from teaching 6th grade Science & Social Studies to 6th grade Reading.

Until next time – a latte of sparkles & giggles,

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