The #ClassroomBookADay Challenge Kickoff Has Begun!
BY NICOLE STROUP
This year, let’s make a new commitment to get students to pick up books that they choose and that they want to read. How do we get them to do that? We do it through simply reading them a book. No strings attached. No skills attached. No lessons to learn. Follow #ClassroomBookADay and let's read!
What started as a middle school teacher making a commitment to bring the love of reading into her classroom by sharing a book a day for the entire classroom has caught on around the nation for all classrooms at all grade levels.
I have found, in my educational experiences, that we often shove literature of all kinds in front of our kids’ faces and never give them choice. We force them to read and wonder why we have so many students who hate reading or are reluctant readers. Even our high school students don’t always enjoy reading; they just may be good at it.
As educators, we rarely invite students into our reading experience. We read with a purpose, to learn this skill or that, to work on writing techniques and add voice.
Literature is a great way to engage students in the skills we are trying to build to mastery. We should continue to use authentic texts to show them this. But when have we stopped and taken a minute to read something to our students for enjoyment? Something that isn’t attached to skill or a strategy?
Often times we don’t because we don’t have the time and we don’t have the resources. We find it hard to pick up a book and read something for enjoyment. Instead, we are given professional books to read on this new initiative or that. Of course, we get something out of the book and may end up enjoying it, but the purpose of reading was to broaden our knowledge and implement something we weren’t implementing. It seems daunting at times, though we do this with the best intentions to our students.
In high school, I had a teacher who was a little outside of the box. She was goofy. She was creative. She had a way to draw in each student. She did something completely unheard of, especially in a private school. She read aloud to us.
When I think back on my high school experience, I think of her and her classroom. I think of how she read aloud to high school students. It gave me 10 minutes a day to relax, unwind, listen and dive into a book. With all the pressures we put on our students at all ages, reading aloud to them can be one of the most impactful things we do, for reasons we may not know.
This year, let’s make a new commitment to get students to pick up books that they choose and that they want to read. How do we get them to do that? We provide enriching texts that draw them into the reading experience and broaden their horizons for different genres, different styles of writing and different authors. We do it through simply reading them a book. No strings attached. No skills attached. No lessons to learn.
Just pick up the book and read it, because you, as an educator, love to read too and love to explore new books for reasons unknown. You might love the story, the illustrations, the lesson at the end of the book, the rhythm and rhyme that is used or the way the author can reveal an image. Bring all of that to your students, and let them explore by simply inviting them to enjoy the story.
NICOLE STROUP Regional Office of Education, Lake County IL
With over 10 years of experience in education, Nicole Stroup has been instrumental in supporting staff development, leading teachers, and developing curriculum for districts throughout Lake County. She has rich experience as both an instructional coach and ELA Content Facilitator. She has enhanced the professional learning experience of teachers throughout our area and brings both enthusiasm and a passion for instructional coaching and literacy to her new role. With a Master’s Degree in both Reading Instruction and Educational Leadership, she is committed to serving Lake County schools and districts as a support for English Language Arts curriculum, school improvement, and professional development. Nicole’s broad experience includes teaching at the elementary level as well as supporting school library media staff on library improvements. She emphasizes flexible learning environments, passion for content, and a desire to support the professional learning needs of Lake County educators. Nicole resides in Volo, IL with her husband and young daughter. In her leisure, Nicole enjoys golfing and supports her local girl’s gymnastics team as a coach.
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