As a new school year begins I hope we can reclaim the word “reading” and proudly declare that it is an essential component that is at risk of getting lost in the translation of literacy. Reading deserves to be spoken of and committed to in its own right. Our community is in urgent need of better reading experiences in our schools, community and in children’s homes. As a teacher, parent, well-meaning relative or friend you can be the reason a child loves to read or hates it for the rest of their life.
Imagine if on the first day of school every student had an adult read aloud to them. Imagine if we all had the opportunity to explore who we are as readers without being confined to a level, a genre, or the fear of being judged by a book’s cover. Imagine if every child believed that reading was about choice and permission to self select books that interest them – just as adults do.
At Calgary Reads every day we feel the urgency to make reading something worth doing. We expect children to be given the time to read widely from texts that they want to read so they can build their vocabularies and develop morally, emotionally and intellectually.
Help us this Fall by asking yourself, “Do I like to read and do the children in my life know the answer?” Go beyond that question and really think about your reading habits. Where do you read? Is reading an integral part of your life? What are you currently reading and what will you read next? Where do you find time to just talk with others about what reading means to you and why you love some books and not others? As you come to know your own reading identity you can support a child’s own understanding of reading and themselves as a reader.
All children deserve to have access to books in multiple places, access to many reading role models inside and outside of school and access to more books than they could ever imagine reading.
Together let’s share the responsibility and speak of reading out loud. Let’s do our very best for every reader in our care.