Find the Joy in Reading

written by: Caryl Rice, Reading Teacher at Eagle Hill School


Listen Find Joy in Reading

Remember that feeling as a young child of sitting in a parent’s or grandparent’s lap and being read to? Research has shown that reading aloud to older students is also beneficial.

#Classroombookaday is the brainchild of Jillian Heise. This year I implemented this in my Reading Tutorial and Reading Fluency classes where students work on decoding, comprehension and fluency. Every day we read a picture book as a class. There are no assignments attached to this activity; I simply ask that my students listen to the story, look at the pictures, and enjoy the experience. When the book is finished I ask my students if they have any thoughts or wonders they would like to share. This is when the benefits of #classroombookaday become apparent. 
In the beginning, I felt the very least that the students would get from this experience would be the opportunity for me to model reading fluency for them. To my delight, the benefits of this practice have developed and improved with each picture book we have read. The list below highlights some of the benefits I have seen in my classroom from reading a picture book aloud in class each day.
  • Analysis skills
  • Understanding of theme and genre
  • Use of text to support their reflection or claim
  • Inferencing skills
  • Exposure to a variety of topics and expansion of background knowledge
  • Reading and thinking skills
  • Respectful classroom community
  • Increased empathy development
  • Increased vocabulary
  • Improved listening skills
  • Social-emotional learning
  • Text to self, text to world and text to text connections
  • Improved comprehension
  • Exposure to thinking about text and visualizing the story
  • Enjoyment
These skills help students in all subject areas not just with reading. Sometimes I think it is assumed that students in high school have already mastered the skills I listed, where often this is not the case.
Students look forward to our picture book every day. If I forget to read the #classroombookaday, they are quick to remind me. We have read funny books, serious books, books about history, books about math, books about race, culture, religion and holidays, books about children with learning differences, books about families and friends, books about bullying and bravery, and so many other books.

In the reading department, one of our overriding goals is to create lifelong readers which means giving students strategies and skills to strengthen their reading so it is no longer arduous and becomes a pleasurable activity. Reading #Classroombookaday reinforces this notion and creates a class environment students look forward to attending.

Dinosaur reading book

This is a student that dressed up for Halloween as one of the characters from the book We Don’t Eat Our Classmates written by Ryan T. Higgins.

Recently our class was reading Her Fearless Run by Kim Chaffee, illustrated by Ellen Rooney. This is the story about Kathrine Switzer the first woman to run with an official number in the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967. One of my students put both her hands on the table and said “wait” and with the biggest smile on her face, and her expression bursting with delight she proclaimed, “I see myself as Katherine!” Connections give text meaning.

During the African American Read-In, several of my students volunteered to read picture books that were written by African Americans. Pictured are two students reading Of Thee I Sing written by Barack Obama in front of a room full of students and faculty.

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Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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