I’ve been thinking a lot about reading these days, for a number of reasons. I am writing an article for our next newsletter. That article will focus on learning to read and teaching reading, but in my preparation to write, I found time and again that no matter what method a researcher promoted as successful for teaching reading, all sources were in agreement on one thing – reading makes people better readers, and better learners overall.
Also this week, in preparation for the screening of Race to Nowhere next week, we’ve been talking more about homework amongst the administration and faculty. At our meeting on Wednesday, the elementary English teachers and I spent some time talking about what homework we find useful or necessary. What we all enthusiastically agreed upon was that, if nothing else, students should read. The teachers felt that this should be the priority over any other work, but that it seems to be what students most often don’t do, or at least don’t record.
Lastly, I've been working with some students to assess their reading and have been impressed by their insights and passion for reading. One student told me that she loves to read because she loves descriptions of characters and settings. Another loves the adventure and suspense. Another likes any book in which she can discover something new. Still another loves stories in which plans change, but it all works out in the end. A number of these readers have struggled with reading in the past but now have found their joy.
So this week I hope that you will encourage your children to read – to read for school, to read for fun, to read with you, next to you, or on their own. However it works best, please be sure that they read, even if it means skimping on some other aspect of homework. Encourage a joy in the discovery, adventure, and details of books.