Literacy Intervention: Creating Positive Reading Memories With our Students

I have a confession to make…

I absolutely love to read.  Okay, I guess a reading teacher who loves to read isn’t so surprising.  I have loved reading for as long as I can remember.  As a child, my parents were constantly reminding me to put my book away at the dinner table or to put my book down and go to sleep.  My love for reading continued into my teenage years and then into adulthood.  As an adult, I still struggle with putting my book down while I eat my breakfast, fix my hair ( I learned the hard way not to read while using my flat iron), or go to bed at night.  I think that part of what makes me love books so much is my innate love for words.  My parents’  actions fostered and shaped the reader than I am today.  What I have tried to do with the students that I work with, besides teaching them how to read, is to take actions that inspire my students to want to read outside of school and to ultimately love reading as much as I do.

I work with students who often already at a young age view reading as something that is hard for them, something they do at school, and something that they dislike.  They don’t see themselves as readers.  What I try to do for my students is replicate some of the things that my parents did for me that enhanced my joy for reading.

From a fairly young age, I remember Saturday trips to the library.  I would take my time looking through books.  I chose books based on something that caught my eye in the illustrations.  As I became a little older I started to search for books with my favorite characters such as Spot, Mr. Men & Little Miss, Little Critter, and the Berenstain Bears.  Then I had my favorite authors like James Stevenson, Beatrix Potter, Beverly Cleary, and Judy Blume.  I can’t take my students for Saturday trips to the library, but during my lessons, I can use books with eye-catching illustrations.  I choose books that have characters that I know my students will fall in love with.

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Some of my student’s favorite characters

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Look at these interesting illustrations!

Another treasured memory I have was choosing one of my library books for my mother to read to me.  I would cuddle up on her lap and listen to her read and I would often  “read” the book back to her.  She would call me a reader and excitedly call my dad over to listen to me “read”.  Even before I was able to read the words on the page I felt like a reader.  When reading with my students I give them specific praise for the work they do.  I tell them that they are doing the things that readers do with the same excitement my mom used for me when I was little.  When opportunities present themselves I have students share a favorite book or some great work they did as a reader with their classroom teacher.

My parents bought me books from the monthly Scholastic book order that was sent home from school.  Also, about once a month we traveled to the mall and went to Walden Bookstore, B. Dalton’s, or Borders and my parents would let me choose a book and a new bookmark. I would take my time reading all of the funny sayings on the bookmarks.  My parents would wait patiently while took forever deciding which R.L. Stine book I should buy next or I would quickly grab the next installment of the Babysitter Club books.  The books that my parents bought me became favorites that I read over and over again.

I provide my students with the opportunity to choose favorite books from their basket of familiar books to reread at home.  One of my favorite things to do is surprise my students with books that I know they would be interested in.  I purchase books from garage sales, second-hand shops, and Scholastic books to have on hand.  I love seeing a child’s face light up when they realize that they don’t have to bring the book back.  It is their book to keep forever.

Through providing these experiences for my students I hope that they will have memories forever of the warm and fuzzy times we had reading books together.

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