Ideas for Creating a Literate Environment
What are you currently doing to create a literate environment? Add some new practices to your repertoire.
Model the love of reading and show students what it means to be a life-long reader. Make displays of adults’ favorite reads, read authentic materials, read with and read aloud to students, and discuss favorite selections with students.
Create a classroom library containing students’ favorite books, magazines, and newspapers. Use an interest inventory to determine student interests.
Display reading material for students to reference on a daily basis. Students become independent learners when they are held responsible for reading steps to solve problems, directions, or different genre selections.
Provide student choice about what they read. Students need to make some of their own choices when pursuing learning goals as well as to have opportunities to independently read self-selected materials.
The Importance of Choice for Reading Development
When Daniel Fader wrote the best selling book Hooked on Books, he worked with boys in a training school for delinquents in Michigan. For a whole year he just let them read anything they wanted, but they had to read. They could read magazines, comic books, series books. Most were non-readers; they gained three grade levels in reading without formal instruction by reading what they wanted to read.
Source: Huck, Charlotte. (1997). Children’s Literature in the Classroom, Language Arts, 74, 546-556.
Incorporate numerous opportunities for students to talk with others and to write about what they read. The use of a Think Pad encourages students to frequently take a thinking break to record ideas during a read aloud, reactions during an experiment, or thoughts about a selection they’re reading.
Display literacy strategies for students to use and reference on a daily basis. Many teachers provide word walls and discover that students and teachers use the words more in their talking and writing.