This is a big part of a teacher librarian’s raison d’etre. If our mission is to facilitate development of literacy skills and manage resources, then fostering a love for reading is at the top of our list!
Here are a few things happening in our Learning Commons that have inspired students (and teachers) to read:
Inviting Guest Readers into the Learning Commons
This is best done within a context (Asian Heritage month, Author birthday, First Peoples Awareness, Pink Shirt Day, etc.). Guest Readers offer a new voice to an old story (or an old voice to a new story). Coupled with a new range of experiences and intonation, a Guest Reader can expose students to a new way of thinking about a story, concept, or feeling.
Hosting local Canadian authors
British Columbia is teeming with authors of children’s literature. When an author visits
a school, it is like Royalty has descended. Students are in awe of what an author actually
looks and sounds like up close. They are free to ponder the writing process, and ‘get inside’ the author’s space for a while. Bringing authors into a school is a way to connect us to literature and support our imagination.
Offering Book Talks
When we acknowledge the merits of a book by speaking to the story contained inside, students listen. Advertising new books or a favourite series is one sure way to keep them off our shelves. Why? Because kids love to hear about adventures, characters, and settings that kindle their imagination. The best comments I hear in my library are, when students start suggesting books to me based on prior book talks. Can I have that book? Is one of my favourite requests!
Learning to read is one of most fascinating and rewarding events in our lives. Why not include recent graduates of that process to inspire our newest readers? Buddy readers connect to younger readers in ways that us adults might not think about. Pointing out characters’ expressions, or acknowledging interesting letter blends is one way kids make connections between stories and words. It is a mutually symbiotic relationship, one that fosters the reading (and speaking/listening) skills of both buddies.
-Doni Gratton, Teacher Librarian: Hollyburn Elementary School/ Chartwell Elementary School