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January 21, 2020

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Encouraging a pleasure for literature

As a teacher of language and literature, I spend most of my time planning learning activities like character analysis, paragraph organization and word choice. But underneath all my objectives and standards, I am teaching my students the beauty of reading.

Educational research reveals that a love of reading leads to natural progress in many areas: grammar, vocabulary, fluency, etc. It’s the easiest way to help my students improve language, but I still have to convince them reading is a pleasure.

There’s a difference between reading done in the classroom (intensive) and reading done for pleasure (extensive). It’s extensive reading that is so powerful in educational gains.

Each month I choose a book to read to my class and spend the first 10 minutes of class reading aloud.

I never finish before the end of the month, and without fail, students request to check the book out as they are enamored by the story. This technique can be used at home.

I am always careful to choose a book that isn’t too challenging, because the purpose is to teach students to read for pleasure and take up the habit themselves. Laborious books will never stir a love of reading.

One of the most inspiring books on extensive reading I’ve read as a teacher is “The Book Whisperer” by Donalyn Miller, I recommend it if you want to be convinced of the efficacy of pleasure reading. As a committed bibliophile, it even changed some of my reading habits.


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