For the Love of Reading


Hi Everyone!  As a school librarian, I worked hard collaborating with teachers, integrating technology within student work, and promoting reading.  But I was never satisfied with my students’ reading habits. I observed students when they came to check out books. Many wandered around the library and left without anything to read despite numerous book talks, attractive displays, and suggestions. Parents were constantly coming to me requesting good books to read to their child or what to recommend to their child.  Parents wanted to know how to help their children do better in school, and what could they buy to help improve learning.  Teachers were complaining students weren’t reading at home and completing their reading log assignments. There was no time in the daily schedule for SSR time.  Kindergarten teachers were dismayed that in-coming classes had no recognition of classic picture book characters and had poor vocabulary skills. And on top of all of this, the cafeteria was extremely noisy and unruly during breakfast and lunch.  All of this is what led to the reading promotional programming in “For the Love of Reading”.  The school council, literacy team, and kindergarten team spelled out what we as a school needed: the kindergarteners needed to be read aloud to regularly at home, provide time for SSR outside the classroom schedule, involve parents and caregivers in literacy activities, and yes, take care of that noisy cafeteria problem!  I added the alliterate readers, the ones who are capable readers but choose not to read.  This was another big problem area.  So after reading numerous articles from journals such as The Reading Teacher, Reading Research Quarterly, and School Library Journal, and chapters from What Really Matters for Struggling Readers (Allington, 2012), The Read-Aloud Handbook (Trelease, 2013), and The Power of Reading (Krashen, 2004), our school decided upon incorporating the programming found in “For the Love of Reading”.  Even though we knew it would be a lot of continuous work, we felt strongly it was best for the students.

The reading programming was phased in over several years. The programming needed financial assistance for books, audiobooks, reading buttons and food.  Local businesses, PTA, administration, and volunteers provided support.  Grants from ALA, such as AASL’s Innovative Reading Grant, mini-grants from the school district, Junior League, and other community groups provided additional funding to keep the programs running smoothly.  Being a member of the 2010 John Newbery Committee provided valuable insight for me to lead the Mock Newbery Book Club.

Make a difference in your school community and help create strong readers and family connections.  It is a team effort!  Meet with stakeholders in your school and see how you can build strong literacy programming in your building with programs such as Battle of the Books, Beary Special Readers, Mock Newbery Book Club, and Reading Lunch.  Your students will thank you for showing them how much fun it is to READ!!

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