Never Underestimate a Good Book
by Jenn Sheehey
Oscar Wilde once said, “It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” Not everyone has a love for reading, and unfortunately, some students develop a distaste for reading at a young age. Whether it’s because they don’t feel successful, they are naturally better at other subjects, or a host of other reasons, a love for reading doesn’t come to everyone right away. The importance of reading; however, cannot be underestimated.
According to the National Education Association and the Literacy Company, reading not only improves skills in reading, vocabulary, writing, and speaking, but also in math! Almost all research has concluded that allowing student choice in the reading selection is key, whether it be a magazine, graphic novel, book, or more, but ultimately, one must read for FUN. There is so much academic reading in school that we often run out of time to read simply for the love of reading. Ask your TF or EA for recommendations on independent reading selections, or browse through the shelves at your local library (they still exist!). Do a book swap with neighbors, family friends, and co-ops, and start off the new year right with a challenge to see how many books you can read in 2018! Your student or family may enjoy starting the Tower of Books Challenge, setting milestones and rewards along the way. My first grade daughter Adelynn really took off reading this school year and loves adding another book to her tower each time she finishes one.
As parents and homeschoolers, modeling the practice of reading for pleasure can be especially powerful. Did you know that if we read just 15 minutes a day, we will read over a million words each year? And yet over 33% of high school graduates will never read a book again after high school, and 50% of U.S. adults are unable to read an 8th grade book. We tell our kids it’s important to read, but practicing what we preach is a little harder to follow through on in the busy lives we lead. Students-check out what your high school EAs are reading with their shared book selfies, and post a book selfie with your first name, favorite book title and author to our elementary, middle, and high school Padlet walls so others can think about reading your book. Anyone can join the Literary Club on Edmodo (add the club with code 7atk7w) for helpful resources, information on parent workshops, and to be connected in a student community. A high school book club will be forming soon, with hopes to start a middle school book club in the fall. Let’s make 2018 a great year for homeschooling, and full of books!