Every semester, I encourage my students in the Master of Science in Teaching Literacy Program to increase their personal consumption of children’s and young adult literature. I tell them, that to teach readers and writers, they must be readers and writers themselves. I add that it helps to know their students’ reading tastes (fiction/nonfiction), their interests, and the types of books they enjoy reading outside of school. I believe that if they are non-readers, they just haven’t been introduced to the right author yet!
Therefore, we brainstorm ways to introduce books and authors to our students by reading and sharing them together as a community of learners. I carve out a space in my graduate classes to talk about reading “to” and “with” students. We discuss award winning books (and the criteria for their selection), share author study ideas, design literature-response projects, and think of ways reading and writing can be authentically integrated into the literacy lessons they design for their struggling readers and writers. My teachers have seen their students increase an entire grade level in their comprehension through the integration of books that engage, inspire, and tickle their fancy. No book is off limits! We believe that students stretch their thinking as readers, by having access to books that interest and appeal to their sensibilities. Access should not be restricted to leveled texts or selections from the sanctioned “canon”– a practice still prevalent in many elementary, middle, and high schools.
This semester, I will be distributing Children’s Rights to Read, generated by the International Literacy Association (2019) to my graduate students. I was proud to endorse this document and share with you – please pass on!
- Children have the basic human right to read.
- Children have the right to access texts in print and digital formats.
- Children have the right to choose what they read.
- Children have the right to read texts that mirror their experiences and languages, provide windows into the lives of others, and open doors into our diverse world.
- Children have the right to read for pleasure.
- Children have the right to supportive reading environments with knowledgeable literacy partners.
- Children have the right to extended time set aside for reading.
- Children have the right to share what they learn through reading by collaborating with others locally and globally.
- Children have the right to read as a springboard for other forms of communication, such as writing, speaking, and visually representing.
- Children have the right to benefit from the financial and material resources of governments, agencies, and organizations that support reading and reading instruction.
literacyworldwide.org/rights to read