Wit & Wisdom® Fellow Britton King had a favorite moment during last winter’s Super Bowl.
No, it wasn’t a touchdown or an interception. It was when photographers caught Los Angeles Rams star Andrew Whitworth’s daughter with her head buried in a book during the game.
As King noted, it warmed the heart of teachers everywhere. In addition to working with the Wit & Wisdom team to support the successful implementation of the English language arts curriculum in schools, King teaches fourth grade in St. Francisville, Louisiana.
She was troubled by a survey that accompanied the most recent Nation’s Report Card showing children are reading for fun, or independently, less often than in the past. In response, she wrote this blog post in Ed Post on ways to encourage students to be strong, independent readers.
In the piece, “5 Summer Reading Tips to Set Your Students up for Success,” King writes, “Reading for fun yields tremendous benefits for children, improving literacy skills as well as fostering empathy, perspective-taking, critical thinking, and problem-solving.”
She acknowledges that it can sometimes be an uphill battle, given competition from smart phones and other tech gadgets.
She says parents, educators, and others should do the following:
- Ensure schools adopt high-quality English language arts curricula that promote strong literacy skills and develop a love of reading.
- Encourage students to set their own reading goals and support them in meeting those goals.
- Do what you can to ensure classroom libraries are well stocked with a broad range of great books.
- Get to know the school librarian or librarians in your community and tap their expertise on ways to engage students in terrific books.
- Celebrate student success. Find ways to reward students for great reading habits. Eventually students should internalize that they love reading, but sometimes kids need a nudge.
King says it’s also great to tap into student interests and encourage them to read authors they like. She said a student recently shared with her that he was reading a new book by Walter Dean Myers, an author whose work the class had read much earlier in the year.
“Moments like these remind me why I love teaching so much,” King writes in her blog post. “I’m looking forward to time off to do my own reading this summer. But when fall rolls around, I’ll be ready and excited to share my love of books with a new group of fourth graders.
Chad brings more than 23 years of experience in communications to Great Minds. He has served in three state education agencies, which included time assisting New Mexico’s secretary of education with the adoption of new education reform initiatives; serving as the communications director at the Washington, D.C., Office of the State Superintendent of Education; and working as an assistant to the Florida Commissioner of Education. Chad also worked at the U.S. Department of Education from 2004 to 2009 and served as the deputy assistant secretary for media affairs and strategic communication during his final two years there. Chad is a native of Bloomington, Ill., and graduated from Florida State University.