being a teacher, Reading, Reading Identity, student voice

One More Time for the People in the Back

I don’t think that I can yell any louder.

How many times that I have repeated myself on this blog.

How many times I have repeated the voices of those who speak the words loudly, of those who spoke the words long before I ever did.

I don’t think I can say it in other ways than I have, but I suppose one more time for good measure.  For the people in the back of the room, or for those who just showed up.

If we want to help kids like reading we need to surround them with books.

If we want to help kids like reading we need to give them time to actually read.

If we want to help kids like reading we need to create a community of readers.

If we want to help kids like reading we need to help them develop their reader identity.

We need to help them go beyond our help.

We need to help them go beyond their level.

Their Lexile.

Their data.

The computer program that tells them what they can do or not do as a reader.

We need them to see worth in what they are doing and worth in who reading helps them become.

We need to help them see that reading matters beyond the journal entry, beyond the project, beyond the thing we just made them do to prove that they are actually reading.

We need to speak books.

To share books.

To have books that show them who they are and also what others are.

To celebrate books and all types of reading so that within our classrooms and schools every child can see themselves as a kid who reads. As a kid whose reading matters.  As a kid who doesn’t read “easy” books, who doesn’t cheat in reading when they listen to audio books.  As a kid who might not just be a reader someday, completely dismissing that they are, indeed, already a reader.

And not just in their own eyes but in our eyes as well.

So I suppose I can say it one more time; what we do with the reading we do matters.

What we don’t do with the reading we do matters.

The identities we help create matter.

And the words our students share about what is killing their love of reading matters.  the least we can do is listen to them.

And we must bring back common sense reading practices to protect the very kids whose reading lives we were told to nurture, to protect, and to grow.

Perhaps you will join in the yelling and the powers that may be will one day hear us.

If you like what you read here, consider reading my newest book, Passionate Readers – The Art of Reaching and Engaging Every Child, out August 2017.  This book focuses on the five keys we can implement into any reading community to strengthen student reading experiences, even within the 45 minute English block.  If you are looking for solutions and ideas for how to re-engage all of your students consider reading my very first book  Passionate Learners – How to Engage and Empower Your Students.      Also, if you are wondering where I will be in the coming year or would like to have me speak, please see this page.

7 thoughts on “One More Time for the People in the Back”

  1. Pernille,
    I will add one more thing to your plea–allow students to read in any way or with any reading source they way–audiobooks, comic books, magazines, digital text with text to speech support, etc. When we minimize or downgrade their reading and book/material preferences, we teach them to dislike reading instead of championing them to read in any way possible.

    1. oops–did not proof my comment! Should have written “with any reading source they WANT” not they way….

      1. Absolutely, Beth! Access to books doesn’t stop with a physical copy. Reading can take so many forms. If it’s ok for adults to listen to books, read magazine articles instead of novels, choose our genre, why not for our kids?

  2. One of the best-loved assemblies in our middle school is when the local public librarians come to book talk summer reading ideas with our 6-8 th graders. They are such amazing resources, and the kids are always jumping out of their seats to ask questions and hear about so many exciting reading options. I think about this when I struggle to help my own daughters (pk and gr 1) try to find books to fall in love with because I wonder if they will develop that connection to reading that I remember from my own childhood.

  3. Reblogged this on One more thing… and commented:
    I love reading everything Pernille writes! It is educator GOLD!! When I see something like this it gives me so much hope! If you have any questions or confusion about reading in the classroom, READ THIS PIST! Thank you Pernille! ❤️

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