Every year, I walk into to my 5th Grade Reading Classes and ask students how many books they read over the summer. I am sad to say that every year that number has dropped. Several children state they hate reading, and they would rather be on electronics or "even clean the house than read!" Other students claimed they "hate when I have to read a book someone else picks out." These children come from a variety of cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, races, abilities and family structures, but the response is always the same. They do not like to read.
I decided this would be the year that I would change that.
I knew the key was to convince students that books offer another way of engaging in adventure, excitement, and mystery that doesn't involve an electronic device. The best way to do that would be to give them a choice in what they wanted to read. I also want to give them a chance to participate in reading a book I read aloud, so each child needs a copy of the book.
A speaker at a recent conference said that it is impossible for teachers today to prepare our children for the jobs of the future. He stated that the only way we can prepare them is to teach them how to use technology to invent new ways to solve problems. He does not believe that books are a solution to this challenge. I would argue that BOOKS can be an answer to this challenge.
Books offer students the chance to engage with characters students can relate to, connect with or challenge; not just a dancing warrior on a screen shooting at a target .
Giving students choices about what they can read will provide the motivation and desire to pick up a book instead of a device. Words will have power again instead of a machine gun or hand cannon on a small screen. I cannot think of a better way to prepare our students for the future than to allow them to read a variety of texts and make their own decisions based on what they think not Google!
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