When it comes to summer, reading may not be the first thing—or even in the top ten things—kids have in mind! But reading can be the ideal summer activity. It’s fun, portable, can involve the whole family, and will help children academically.
These resources can help you put good books into kids’ hands and connect them to vibrant summer learning adventures. Read more
The era of test-based accountability has brought about an intense focus on reading and math instruction that sometimes leaves other subjects behind. The directors of the Knowledge Matters Campaign say this is a big mistake if we truly want to improve children’s reading ability.
It seems obvious to suggest that if you want to get better at something, you should spend more time practicing it. But there’s a paradox at the heart of our efforts to raise reading achievement: When elementary schools take time away from science, social studies, and the arts to dramatically increase time on reading instruction, they are likely to slow children’s growth in reading comprehension. This slowing won’t be apparent right away; it might not be apparent in the elementary grades at all. But in later grades—when students are expected to read historical speeches or science textbooks or biographies of artists—they will struggle. Read more
Students who read for pleasure are likely to do significantly better in school than other students, but some schools’ overemphasis on testing and following prescribed curricula are endangering children’s opportunities to learn to love reading.
A Massachusetts teacher who witnessed how students’ newfound love for a book was quashed when they were told it wasn’t at the appropriate lexile score writes about her reaction.
“I felt physically ill. Here were two young women excited about reading, happy to discuss their books; they had discovered the pleasures of reading. All of that was taken away from them,” English language arts teacher Nancy Barile writes for Education Week. Read more
Bloomfield students and community members were excited to be able to take home some new-to-them books thanks to a book swap organized by the Bloomfield Education Association.
Bloomfield families now have many new-to-them books to read thanks to a great idea by teacher Jen Coleman. Coleman and other Bloomfield educators organized the first annual Bloomfield Education Association (BEA) Community Book Swap to rave reviews.
Over 100 families came and swapped a wide variety of books, from picture books to adult literature. Parent Carla Ladson said, “I think this is an excellent idea. Books stores can be expensive, library late fees can add up and my kids love to read.”
Families that didn’t have books to contribute participated by bringing canned goods to swap for a book. All the canned goods were then donated to the Bloomfield Food Bank.
Bloomfield High School teacher Amanda Powell said, “This is awesome. It’s a great way to get students and community members together to encourage reading.” Read more
Why do we want children to love reading? Daniel Willingham says that a love of reading isn’t essential for many traditional measures of success. Instead, the University of Virginia psychology professor hopes children will learn to love reading because of the pleasure and experiences it brings.
Willingham, the author of the new book Raising Kids Who Read, told NPR in a recent interview, “I think I gain experiences I wouldn’t gain any other way by virtue of being a reader. And so naturally I want my children to experience that.”
Willingham’s book describes strategies for parents and teachers to use to help children discover a love of reading. Divided into three parts, the sections address strategies for children birth through preschool, kindergarten through second grade, and third grade and beyond. Read more
While many parents have heard about the importance of reading aloud to toddlers and early-elementary aged children, some may not know that reading aloud to children who can read well independently also has benefits. A study from scholastic has found that, for children ages six to eleven, being read aloud to regularly is positively correlated with being a frequent reader.
The study found that elementary students also enjoy reading aloud with a parent because they see it as special bonding time and want to read books that “have characters that look like me.” Click here for more study findings and for infographics on what makes for frequent readers.
Photo by Alec Couros via Flickr.
How do you help your kids — your own children and/or your students — learn to love reading?
In a New York Times op-ed yesterday, columnist David Bruni bemoaned the results of a new report by Common Sense Media, which shows that 22 percent of 13-year-olds and 27 percent of 17-year-olds say they “hardly ever” or never read for pleasure — compared with only 8 percent of 13-year-olds and 9 percent of 17-year-olds 30 years ago.
Bruni thinks this is a big loss because he’s “persuaded that reading does things — to the brain, heart and spirit — that movies, television, video games and the rest of it cannot.”
What accounts for this dramatic decrease in reading over the last 30 years? Read more