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Mar 05
How do we encourage students to find joy in reading again?

Recommended Reads Elementary2.jpgMarch is National Reading Month, and what better time than now to pick up a book and start reading.

Westerman Elementary teacher Danielle Peters started a book blog, Dee Bibliophilia, as a way to recommend books to others and share her lifelong passion for literature.

"I was reading so many books, and it was hard to recommend a book I read three months ago," she said. "I thought, I'll post as I'm reading them and if people are looking for a book, they can take a look. And it just grew, and grew, and grew."

Recent statistics have indicated a drop in reading frequency, enjoyment and sense of importance among children, and Peters largely attributes that decline to too much screen time.

"We're overstimulated and our kids don't know how to just sit and enjoy a book," she said. "We really need to borrow time from things that are less important like TV time or screen time and show kids how important reading is."

But how do we encourage students to find joy in reading again? Peters has a few tips for families to put down the remote controls and pick up some good books.

To start, regular visits to the library and book store can generate an interest in reading in young minds, and it's even more effective when kids are allowed to choose what they want to read.

"I think some parents don't want their kids to read graphic novels because they think it's just a comic book or a cartoon but I think there's value in that," she said. "Giving your kids a chance to cruise around, look at the different books, the genres and letting them have choice over it is a big tip to getting kids interested."

Another tip is dedicating a daily reading time, which Peters says helps children find enjoyment in reading as a routine – and it doesn't have to be right before bed.

"It could be while you're cooking dinner or you're reading together after dinner, whenever it is, it gives your kids time to show them the importance of reading," she said. "Even 15 minutes, it sounds like nothing, but it's enough to read a couple chapters and have a conversation about it and have kids start learning those literacy skills of inferencing and predicting."

If you're still stuck on what to read, the district's teacher librarians have some recommendations:

Books for children:

  1. Front Desk by Kelly Yang
  2. Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
  3. The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
  4. The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart
  5. Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Books for teens:

  1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
  2. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  3. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
  4. Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
  5. Caraval by Stephanie Garber


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