|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
|FOR THE LOVE OF READING|
My children live life out loud. They do everything with a considerable amount of noise. Their play is narrated by pretend conversations, sound effects, exclamations. When friends join them, their play is a back and forth of pure loudness.
Childhood is the land of loud. The development of a child requires that they hear language and use it and revel in it. They need to experiment with sounds and volume. Their noise is learning out loud. I love to hear it, to encourage it, to engage it (sometimes, to my husband’s dismay).
Schools are full of the out loud living of kids. We try to contain it, but it bubbles out of the doors and windows.
So, the fact that some schools are discontinuing the practice of teachers reading aloud is a mystery to me. Particularly, removing the aloud reading of novels.
The excuse is always time. There’s not enough time to read a novel. “I don’t have time,” they say. But the real story is that it isn’t always a priority. And, why?
I cannot think of anything that builds capacity for more language, bigger language, sophisticated language, and rigorous language more than sharing a wonderful novel out loud. The positive learning outcomes of hearing the language of a challenging novel are numerous. But the other social- emotional outcomes are incredible too.
When a teacher reads out loud, her students want to do it too. It becomes pure fun. They emulate the inflections, the emotion. They see their teacher as a child again: someone who reads out loud, who creates voices, who makes sound effects, who loves to be out loud. Someone who thinks reading is really really fun. And, they start to love their teacher a little more and the relationship is forged in reading. And they want her to teach them to be a reader too.
Reading is, at its core, a social act. It requires someone to write and someone to read. It requires a relationship with the author, the reader, the thinker. And to bring that world to a child through out loud reading is pure magic.
But learning to read is not magic. In order to be a reader, a lifelong reader, a child must have early and continuous experiences with the language of books. Beautiful, amazing books. These experiences should continue throughout their childhood and even into adolescence. Children need to hear books they cannot read themselves read out loud so that they can use the schema of book language as they grow and become more sophisticated readers. And then they will aspire to read more sophisticated text because, at its core, it’s fun.
I urge you, all teachers, to fight for the right to read out loud. Make time. Read out loud while you laugh out loud, cry out loud. Get lost in the out loudness. Start building readers through the love of reading, out loud.
It is possible. We need to use and prioritize reading aloud for the benefit of our students. Fight for the right to be out loud as a reader. For the love of reading.
We can do it. We can do it together. Joyfully. Out loud.