As a teacher, you are responsible for developing students' literacy skills and ensuring that they accomplish Common Core ELA standards. But does your job as a literacy teacher end there? Of course not!
As a teacher, you should also convince your students about the joy and value of reading. Motivated readers become successful readers, and a teacher's personal relationship to books can profoundly influence students' attitudes towards reading.
It is essential that students perceive you as a reader, too. Do you often use classroom silent reading time to take care of other teacher tasks? As much as it's tempting to grade papers or tidy your desk during quiet reading time, busying yourself with other errands implicitly tells your students that "reading is just for kids." If you also sit down and read with the students, you demonstrate that reading time is important for you, too.
Treat your books with respect. Are you guilty of using books for a doorstop or a writing surface? Do you flip its pages with chalky hands? Children are incredibly observant, and small actions like these can shape a child's perception of how valuable (or invaluable) books are. Make sure to treat all your books with the respect they deserve!
Personal recommendations convey that you value the student's identity as a reader. Moreover, students will have the opportunity to share their reactions with you—when children know that they'll be able to share their thoughts about reading with someone else, they're much more likely to finish the book. Thus, recommendations tells students that a mutual love of reading can strengthen relationships with other people.
Actively recommend books to your students. Allowing children the freedom to choose books boosts their enthusiasm, but that doesn't mean that you can't make recommendations.
Try not to talk from a literacy teacher's perspective, like "You should try reading the Underwater Encounter series because it's just right for your reading level." Instead, make a recommendation as a fellow reader: "I just finished reading Scuba School and it reminded me of when you told me you wanted to visit Hawaii. Do you want to borrow my copy of the book?"
A teacher should model enthusiasm and dedication for reading. If students believe that you genuinely like to read (and you're not just teaching them because it's your job), they'll be much more likely to read with you!
Click the left image below to visit the website for Underwater Encounters, which was mentioned in this blogpost. Click the right image to download a fact sheet about the series.