My students are kids with serious tenacity and grit. Reading has never been easy for them, but they persevere and work hard to reach their goals and to become better readers. I love that moment when I have a student who “hates reading” find a book that they can’t put down. I love helping them develop a love of reading that extends outside of school. I had a student last year that hated reading due to dyslexia. She was embarrassed and was reading very far below her grade level. But when we focused on her strengths and not her weaknesses, we were able to put her in texts she enjoyed. My favorite memory is when a fellow teacher said to me, “I was in the cafeteria today and I saw Katie*. She had her nose in a book the entire lunch period. She never put the book down.” That is why I love my job. I can help kids discover their potential. They impact me so much and I am so grateful that I get to be a part of their story.
I have been doing a lot of reading about student engagement lately. Research shows that giving students a variety of choice in their reading allows for more engagement and ultimately less fake reading! Students are going to be engaged in books they are excited about reading. I am wanting to display different books for my students. I want to have books right at their fingertips. I want to give book talks over these books and I want students to be excited about the options they can find when they come see me. I want to have a vast library full of exciting books that encourage variety and readers choice. Mostly, by 5th and 6th grade, students believe they are “bad” at reading. I want them to become believers in the power that reading good books will bring them. I want them to fall in love with reading and realize that they just haven’t been introduced to the right books. They can do it—I want to help.
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