What Does Your Child’s Teacher Believe about Lifelong Reading?

What Does Your Child’s Teacher Believe about Lifelong Reading?

No one argues the value of reading.  For decades, research has linked reading with academic success, college graduation, and job advancement.

In fact, being an avid reader is the only extracurricular activity known to increase the likelihood of a person having a professional or managerial position by his early 30’s.

While no one disputes the benefits of reading, educators do disagree whether readers are born with a bent towards stories or if bookworms are created through instruction, modeling, and practice.

In short, is reading a trait or a skill?

Granted, this distinction sounds small – a “he says tomato, she says tomahto” dispute – but a teacher’s perspective on reading makes all the difference in how much class time she’ll devote to promoting habits that turn a child into a lifelong reader.

With this in mind, ask yourself these questions:

Does my child’s teacher allow time for in-class reading? Just as a child must practice to master any skill, the reader gets stronger with daily practice. Readers practice reading, and that means 20 minutes to an hour of reading a day.

Does my child have a classroom library? Readers need easy access to books. A child surrounded by a well-stocked library spends 60% more time reading than a child without a classroom library. Also, the chance for a child to participate in literacy-related activities more than doubles from 4 interactions to 8 ½ interactions when he is close to books.

Does my child have a choice in what he reads? When a child selects his own reading material, he becomes an engaged and empowered reader. He learns what his taste is in books and the types of stories that interest him.

Does my child’s teacher read? Does she share what she reads with her classroom? Readers need a reading community. When a child hears a teacher describing a book she enjoys, then she demonstrates to him that reading is not just for school, showing him that reading matters in the lives of the adults around him.

Did you say yes to those questions? If so, your child’s teacher likely sees reading as a skill and her classroom as a greenhouse to create the habits for lifelong readers.

If you mostly answered no, then your child’s teacher may see her class bookworms as “born readers”, preferring to stress critical reading rather than pleasure reading.

Whether your child’s teacher believes reading is a trait or a skill, you can inspire your child to develop lifelong reading habits by creating a book-rich home, allowing him to choose books that he wants to read, and encouraging him to read daily.

Then when you share what books excite – and bore – you, he will know, without a doubt, how much you believe in being a lifelong reader too.

What do you think? Are children born bookworms or can they can develop a love of reading? I’d enjoy reading what you think. Just add your comments below.

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by Bridgette Booth

Bridgette Booth writes for children and young adults.

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