Hey! It was intentional, so don’t go around your school districts claiming that I can’t speak proper English- I can! But, the title of this post originated because my students would always say this about some of the materials that we read when I was in the classroom. One of my jobs as an educator was to always help the students struggle through books that may not have been interesting to them. My slogan always was, “If you can read this, you can read anything!” And I always let the students know ahead of time, “This story right here isn’t my favorite, but it has some really great lessons in it, so we will struggle through it together, okay?”
Most times, I loved everything we read in class, but the extra commentary was only to engage the students and make them feel as though we were achieving something together. We have to continue to do this for our students. I grew to love books as a child because of my mom. She did it inadvertently. I would get in trouble ALL of the the time, and it was mainly because of my little brother. My mom would take my tv and radio, and I would be left with….you guessed it…. books. I can recall traveling through the states and the world just by reading great books. My teachers always recommended things to me, and the love of reading has always stuck with me. It never left, and it’s become a great characteristic because the work I do requires that I stay up to date on the latest, effective practices in education. That takes a lot of reading!
But I thought of this topic because I was just at Moore Elementary meeting the rising 6th graders on yesterday. I snapped a picture at the end of our visit because that’s just what I do when I go place. It’s like a log of what I’ve done throughout the week. Anyhow, as I took another look at the picture, I realized the banner that was pasted over the kids’ heads. The banner said, “Books open the doors to discovery.” It may seem to be a trivial point to you, but it made me smile because it rings true. We constantly discuss our students’ lack of exposure to things outside of their communities, and books can be that escape for many of them. We speak of students’ low lexiles, and it’s attributed to their lack of reading consistently and our lack of motivating them to read. I’m surprised at the large number of adults that either do not like to read or can’t read proficiently. We have to do better.
About two years ago, I met someone at the NCTE conference, and she spoke of how her group of African-American male students became engaged in reading. Most of it was due to her classroom library, which contained diverse books, and the other was the fact that she made them read daily. That’s what students need. They need someone to not only make them read, but also someone to guide them and help them choose books that interest them. We will challenge them with the texts that we present to them in the classroom, but in the meantime, they should be engaging with books that will entertain them.
“Books Open the Doors to Discovery”
There’s a website that speaks of the need for diverse books. We have students from all aspects of life, and once they see themselves in a book and identify with a character, the love of reading will start to grow. I’m passionate about building literate kids. I’m also passionate about educating children who can compete with students from all over the world. Exposure will fix this. Great literacy instruction will fix this. If you need to find diverse books for your students, CLICK HERE! We can’t keep glancing over the problem as if it’s not there. We have to fix it. There’s no other option!
With #2185Pride and #CougarAccountability,