Fostering Reading Cultures in Schools

 

children (google image)

This is a very important topic for me. I have been working in various literacy support roles since being hired with my district three years ago. I was part of the Learning Improvement Fund where my role was primarily working with students who were reading below grade level.  I was able to work with small groups of students from grade 1 to grade 7,  with our focus on bumping them up a reading level or two with our ultimate goal being that they were reading at our above grade level upon completion of our time together.

Our district has a district wide mandate that we follow with an importance being placed on getting those low kids up to grade level. Each school runs a Reading Blitz program with small groups of students (grade 1, 2, and 3) that looks to help foster a love of reading and help these students become readers who make connections, visualise, infer, predict. We hope to teach students the skills while reading that will translate across every subject and into outside of school situations.  We follow a dynamic guided reading program that allows us to focus on the specific skills each student needs to be successful in their own way. I may notice in our guided group that one of my students does not have the skills she needs to comprehend the text. We ask, does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense? We may work on making connections, going on picture walks, accessing prior knowledge, synthesising their ideas about the text, determining important ideas, asking questions. This reading program allows us to really focus on the skills each student needs to become a proficient and passionate reader.

There are a variety of guided book series that I use with my students but the Oxford Publishing series The Magic Key and Biff and Chip are very popular. The Project X books are also very popular, the students like the illustrations – they are all computer generated. They think they books are more like comic books and it makes the reading more exciting for them.
biff-and-chip   (Oxford Press image) Project X.png(Oxford Press Image)

I truly believe that helping students to see that they CAN be successful readers gets them excited about coming to the library and picking a book to read. Often I see students that may struggle as readers see reading as boring or stupid. Kids who struggle with reading don’t see the importance of reading because they feel they won’t be able to. Our district really works to give kids the skills they need to see they can and will be able to read….anything they put their mind to! Check out the link below to see what our program is all about. With reference to  a learning group using the resource Catching Young Readers Before They Fall by Pat Johnson and Katie Keier.
Changing Results For Young Readers

I also think that if students see the adults in their life placing importance on reading, that they may see how special it is as well.  I try my best to be show how excited I am about a new book every time a class comes into my library. I make sure that I read out loud with my 6/7 class as well as with every class that come into the library. Students get a chance to be exposed to all sorts of rich language when teachers have a chance to read aloud to them.  I know with my students, I allow them to pick a book for me to read aloud and then I will choose one to read aloud.  I am holding my first Scholastic Book Fair next week and have had a chance to do book talks about several chapter and picture books with the students from my school. They were really excited to hear about the books and I heard many exclaim,” I can’t wait to see all the books at the book fair!”.

 

“Changing Results for Young Readers: Lynda Henney & Maureen MacLachlan, The Vernon Experience.” YouTube. N.p., 2013. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

 

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4 thoughts on “Fostering Reading Cultures in Schools

  1. Wow! Sounds like your district really has a plan in place! I watched parts of the video and what really stuck with me is reading books that the students felt confident with and how that built stamina. The question prompts are also a fantastic idea. Does that make sense? — It is such a powerful question.

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  2. Good blog post that describes your role, goals and strategies very well. You have many different ways to engage and support your struggling readers. I’m wondering if you use a certain set of leveled readers, or an digital resources? Some more links to the resources you use, perhaps images of the books would be helpful. Also, tagging, or adding ‘categories’ to your blog posts is very helpful as they become subject headings for archival and retrieval on your blog later. A good, personalized discussion of the activities and support your provide for your school community.

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  3. Best of luck to you in hosting your first book fair! I am a new teacher librarian as well and will be hosting my first book fair next month.

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