grab a book!

Dear Soulseekers,

I’ve been reading a lot lately – about reading, and I’ve come across some interesting research. I’ve always told my students that reading is the gateway to everything else in their lives. I truly believe that. As you can imagine, they don’t believe me. But as an ELAR teacher, reading, being able to read, understanding what you read is HUGE! It will affect all areas of school and I argue, your life as an adult as well. In history, if you don’t understand what you are reading, how will you understand where we have been? In science, how can you understand correlational relationships if you don’t have the vocabulary or reading fluency to get through the word correlational? In math, how will you get through a word problem and understand what to do if you struggle to read?

I taught 8th grade for 5 years, and the majority of my students were reading at a 1st or 2nd grade level. I was floored! How did this happen? How are these kids in 8th grade and cannot read at grade level?? No wonder they can’t pass high stakes testing. They are 12 and 13, sometimes 14, and reading like a 6 year old. It paints a bleak picture for the future.

Did you know that a reader must be able to comprehend 90% of the words in a passage in order to comprehend the reading material? This is the problem. The causes are varied: poverty is a big one. No books at home. Parents who do not read or don’t read to their kids, and what I call, having a small world. Trevor Noah says it best in his book, Born a Crime:

We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

If children are not given the opportunity to see beyond the confines of their world, whether it’s through books, movies, conversations with parents and grandparents, etc., then they know very little about the world. Books open up the world to children. Books allow them to learn about other cultures, other traditions and values, the histories of different people, the real and the imaginary. Books and reading are so vitally important to all of us. There is also research now that reading fiction increases empathy. It’s a really interesting concept and makes complete sense to me. I’ll discuss this in another post.

For now, I encourage you to read – for yourself, for your kids if you have them. Read to nieces and nephews and your cousins. Read to a neighbor’s kid! I cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Kids are struggling right now in so many areas, and I truly believe that reading could be a salve to start healing so many wounds and weaknesses in our kids.

Grab a book this holiday weekend. I have my stack sitting beside me just waiting to be read. If you want to join me, I just started Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. I’m only on page 34 so you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. It’s supposed to be a really good one with a completely unexpected ending. Perfect!

Until next time soulseekers,

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I'm honest, sarcastic, funny, loyal, a goal setter, determined, health conscious, a dreamer, a bibliophile, and a creative.

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