The Love of Reading
Organized by: Rebecca Courtade
I am a public school teacher in a low-income community on the south side of Chicago. I teach kindergarten through 3rd grade special education. All of my students are dramatically below grade level in all subjects. In order to raise my students' academic performance, I have decided to make literacy my focus this year because improved literacy skills will increase performance in all other subject areas. Throughout the summer, I have been diving into professional development books to prepare for the upcoming year. While I've come away with many valuable ideas, there has been one key takeaway that I keep coming back to: For kids to improve as readers, they need to read.
That seems like commonsense, right? Unfortunately, making meaningful reading happen in the context of a school is much more complex than it should be. The challenge starts with access to books. For students to find success in reading that not only motivates them to pick up a book, but also pushes their ability, students need access to a wide range of texts (fiction, non-fiction, magazines, etc.) that are at their level. The difficulty becomes even more profound when you consider that most of my students have no access to books at home, so having enough books to check out at school and take home to read is of great importance.
I was the type of kid who would consume books, like most kids consume pizza and ice cream. I remember passing a whole summer afternoon reading, saving money for the school book fair, and being happy to be sent to my room as punishment, because it meant I got to read. I want my students to love books like I did and still do. To achieve that goal, I need a few resources for my classroom. First, I need a library that is robust enough to meet my students diverse learning needs and to inspire true excitement around reading. Second, I need a listening center to improve my students' reading fluency and to make it easier to provide accommodations to my learning disabled and sight impaired students. And third, I need literacy centers and manipulatives to help strenghten my students' phonics, phonemic awareness, writing, and comprehension skills. Your donation will be used to purchase these materials! Once the materials have been purchased and are in use, you'll receive a newsletter updating you on their impact in my classroom.
Thank you, from me and my students, for your support!