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Developing A Love Of Reading

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It’s that time of year again—time to return from those last summer vacations and get in gear to go back to school.  Time to hit the books, for students, and teachers, too.


It’s a time, unfortunately, that some students dread, because they don’t like to read.  And when a student doesn’t enjoy reading, he is less likely to succeed in school or later in life.


The good news is that kids can learn to love reading, if they are encouraged to read what interests them.


This is the message of Donalyn Miller’s new book, “The Book Whisperer: awakening the inner reader in every child”.  Known for her popular blog, "The Book Whisperer," Donalyn Miller says she has yet to meet a child she couldn't turn into a reader. No matter how far behind Miller's students might be when they reach her 6th grade classroom, they end up reading an average of 40 to 50 books a year. She shares her teaching methods and includes a dynamite list of recommended "kid lit" that helps parents and teachers find the books that students really like to read.


Miller’s approach to teaching reading is solidly grounded in learning theory.  She outlines the conditions which must be met to foster learning, the most important of which is engagement.  She says that “reading must be an endeavor that has personal value to students, that students see themselves as capable of doing, that is free from anxiety, and that is modeled by someone they like, respect, trust, and want to emulate.”


Every teacher could profit from reading Miller’s book and adopting her approach to assigned classroom reading.


Jim Trelease’s “Read Aloud Handbook” is also must reading for every teacher and every parent.  Trelease, a newspaper journalist, read aloud to his children every night.  When he spoke to school classes, he was disturbed to realize how many kids didn’t have the same reading experiences his own family enjoyed.  He undertook his own one-man crusade to encourage more reading aloud, speaking to parent and teacher groups nationwide about the values and joys of reading aloud.  He wrote several books explaining why and how to incorporate reading aloud into the school day and the home schedule, and suggesting many books and stories to discover together.  Trelease has recently retired to enjoy his grandchildren, but his inspiring books, as well as the books he recommends, are available at the library for anyone to read.


The take away from Miller, Trelease, and other reading experts is that children who see their parents and other models reading for pleasure will want to become readers themselves.  If they are allowed and encouraged to read according to their interests, they will come to love reading.  And loving reading leads to building strong reading skills, which provides the foundation for achieving success in a career and in life.  Kids who read succeed.


To read Miller, Trelease, or any of thousands of other good books, visit the Library (, 988-2541) today!

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Online collection of animated, talking picture books to encourage reading in children.


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