Date: Feb 16, 2018
Author: Andrew Zima
In the first grade at Faison, we share a great passion for literacy that is contagious, and as it catches on, we – both the staff and students – are creating a culture of reading. In our culture of reading, we expect not only that students can read, but that they do read. A key effort in the creation of our reading culture is breaking down the barriers to literacy for struggling readers, as well as giving readers the time to practice reading. When readers are given the opportunity to read, they will.
Readers will read not only when the opportunity is present, but most zealously when matched with texts based on ability and interest. To match students with books they will enjoy, it is important to take time to learn the individual students, their personalities, and their interests, in addition to working with the first-grade teachers to know which reading strategies to emphasize while working with a particular student. Knowing the students as individuals allows me to see differences in their literacy knowledge, rather than deficiencies, and assist them as they build their own theory of the reading process.
Matching students with a selection of books they can – and want – to read provides them with choice and a sense of control, increasing their passion for reading. Such enthusiasm comes when students feel comfortable reading and believe they can read well. When the question, “Can you read with me today?” is echoed by too many students to count on any given day, we know that students want to read.
In my role as the HCV Team Lead at Faison, I truly appreciate the chance to share my passion for reading with the first graders. Luckily, I have many opportunities to share every day, through the independent reading group I run – consisting of over a dozen students – or the several chances I have every day to act as an audience offering strategic feedback in one-on-one reading sessions. As we continue to read and build our culture of reading, I hope that the students begin and continue to share their love of reading with family and friends, expanding our culture of reading well beyond the first grade at Faison.