We’re hearing from educators that literature and poetry are getting squeezed out by social studies during reading hours in the classroom these days. So how do you inspire that life-long love of reading for pleasure?
Kathy Echave, a reading specialist at Lafayette Elementary School in Washington, DC describes a carrot and stick approach. “Make reading fun for kids,” she says, by putting “really good books in their hands.” The school publishes a summer reading guide with what Kathy describes as the “best books – classics that never go out of style as well as things that are brand new." The list is shared with students and parents and is also available in local libraries and bookstores.
Lafayette has created a culture of reading by requiring every student to read for 20 minutes every single night. “If you’re only reading while you’re in school,” says Kathy, “you’re never going to become a lifelong reader or someone who’s really a good reader.”
There are no reading logs to be signed and teachers don’t actively check up on students, but Kathy says the reading homework has become part of the culture of the school. Kids just read.
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