In the past year, the staff of Kent School have had some inspiring conversations and professional learning opportunities (stemmed from professional autonomy and inquiry) around helping students to develop a love of reading based on Steven Layne’s book “Igniting a Passion For Reading”. The book is jam-packed with strategies that are easy to implement as well as thoughts that cause deeper reflection on HOW and WHY we teach reading.
One of the pieces that he discusses is that if we want students to continue to enjoy reading, we have to read the books they enjoy. Although I do not currently teach in a primary classroom, I feel as a principal, I need to be able to discuss and share some of the books that our students are reading.
This year, one of my goals is to read more children’s books. We have many teachers who are passionate about reading in our school (and this has a huge impact on the joy of reading in our kids) so I am tapping into their strengths and have asked them to recommend books for me to read. Our amazing teacher-librarian drops off a new book each week in my “Mr.Wejr’s Hot Pick” cubby (see photo above -many of our teachers have this just outside their classrooms to help promote books) and I read it and share it with students. I am excited to read my first books this year: When You Were Small by Sara O’Leary and The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (actually recommended by my sister).
Although this is a very simple goal, it is just one way that I can tap into the wonderful work that is being done at Kent School around encouraging a love of reading. By doing this I can better meet kids where THEY are… and have fun reading the books they love to read.
Thank you to our staff for all the work they have done and continue to do to encourage pure joy in reading!
What a lovely idea! Anything that gets kids excited about reading gets my vote. And if it happens to be one of my books they are reading then that is even better!
Thanks Sara – it has been truly amazing to see how excited the kids are about reading… time for me to hop on and join them!
Another benefit to this great idea, is that when your girls are school age, YOU can recommend books to THEM! How cool will you be then?
I miss reading lots of children’s picture books, now that my kids are beyond them. Katie says that every once in a while she still takes an old favourite off the shelf…:)
I love this, Chris!
That sounds like a book that I would like to get. Thanks for the recommendation.
I have many many favourites (The Kissing Hand being one of them). If you ever need any recommendations, let me know. If you have issues at recess (with kids getting along) you may want to read Recess Queen. It’s a great book. The kids like it too. I Like Me is a great book for early primary. It can actually be adapted for older students as well. The “If You Give a Mouse” series is good. The “Oh David” series is funny. The Pigeon series is also a favourite among children. Author Melanie Watt’s series Chester and Scaredy Squirrel are also great! The Giving Tree also has a great message.
Well, as you can see, I just love children’s books. If you want any other suggestions, let me know.
I love that you have a little cubby for your new books each week. I am curious how you share them with the students. Do you go into classes and share them with the entire class or do you share with small groups or individual students in your office. (or both)
Thanks for the idea, Chris!
Hey buddy, great idea. I will expect to read posts from you drawing insites from the books that you can apply to your life as an adult 😊. I’ll leave that as a challenge for ya.
Ella and Ellexis will be bookworms by the time they reach kindergarten… and won’t that be awesome. good plan.
people forget how important reading to your kids is. even the most hyperactive adhd kid will sit for an hour when you read to them what they like!!
good way to share, Chris…but how do you choose…old school…or new school? i am still stuck in the past…Bill Peet is making a comeback in my house….man, I love his books!
As a principal and English teacher, I do the same thing with high school books. I am constantly reading to see what I can use, what I can recommend to students, and how I can tie in student interests to lessons that the students need to learn. Great idea.
As a classroom teacher I read so, so, so many children’s books and young adult lit, and that is something I truly miss. I still occasionally purchase YA lit to read because I enjoy it so much, but I definitely feel out of the loop in terms of new books that are out there. Love that you’re working with your school librarian! In our school every teacher & staff member has a sign outside their door that says, “Mrs. Hilt is currently reading” with a line for title and author. We hope to promote the love of reading throughout the whole school and help our kids know that we, as adults, cherish reading for pleasure and for our profession. I have suggested to my librarian the idea of creating a library blog where staff and students can promote their favorite book picks and write reviews to share with the school and beyond. We haven’t gotten there yet, but I think it would be a wonderful way to share our favorite reads!
PS Love the Comic Life sign 🙂
Take a look at Enemy Pie (Derek Munson) and Wolf! (Becky Bloom). Both are excellent.
You aсtually mаke it seem so
easy with yοur presentation but Ӏ find
this mattеr to be reаllу somеthing whіch
I thinκ Ι ωould never understand. It seems too complicаted and very bгoаd for me.
I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
My blog … Penguinzophren
Thanks for this blog entry. I’m currently an AP at in and elementary school Your blog really got me thinking about reading and getting more involved in what students (and teachers are doing). So I came up with Leaders are Readers. Here’s the run down:
– Every teacher would have their students recommend a book for me and my principal to read. They would have to come to a consensus, somehow, as a class and write down the name of the book, author, and a brief description why me or Mr. F should read the book. It could be on their grade level, one they love, or one they had never read. Doesn’t matter. (300 pages is the limit at the moment haha).
– We would draw a name from all the turned in books and that would be the book that we would read.
– We would go to that classroom and do a booktalk with the students. It would be coordinated with the teacher and could be done within roughly 20-30 minutes. We could some, or all, to students, do a powerpoint or Prezi, anything to engage the students.
– Our main focus would be discussing how we read the book, what were some things we learned from the book, and other aspects associated with the book’s topic.
– We would then draw another name, announce it, and do it again and again.
– We would post it on the school website, sharing what book we are reading and then possibly share pictures.
I also wanted to come up with a name of it, for the sake of having a name. I wanted to make it catchy or even funny. I stumbled across a quote however that nailed it on the head:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman
So I decided that “Leaders are Readers” would be the title of our reading activity. At a staff meeting I shared the idea and said that Mr. F and I were really looking forward to coming into the classrooms and talking with students. Teachers liked the idea and nearly every teacher had a slip in the very next morning. We drew a slip and read the books. My first book was The World According to Humphrey. I went and shared it with a 5th grade class and the teacher told me that the kids were so excited to have me coming in and talking with them. It also felt good to get in front of a classroom again.
We want our students to be leaders as well as readers. I would like to eventually expand this out to other leaders within our district and community. I think it would be really cool to have someone from let’s say…Lowe’s Corporate to come over and read/discuss a book with students.
I’ve gone into 5 classrooms already, discussing books from “Underwear” – hilarious! to a serious discussion on 9/11.
I love this job.