from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

A Reading Bill of Rights for Young Adolescents 

In many of the posts on education, by others as well as me, one encounters laments about the reading level of students. I know that I often receive students in high school who do not read anywhere near grade level. When I inquire about their reading habits, I often find that they have little access to books. Most of what they read is required by school, and as a teacher I know that many of their textbooks do not really encourage one to read. Reading thus becomes a task rather than a pleasure. And absent a delight with the written word, students rarely have the requisite background for developing writing skills.

I have little time today for blogging, as I will spend about 7 hours representing my alma mater (Haverford College) at a fair for gifted African-American students in the Washington DC area (including several of my own students). But I could not resist offering the piece below. Entitled A Reading Bill of Rights for Indiana’s Young Adolescents, I encountered it in the weekly email from the Public Education Network. It is put out by the Middle Grades Reading Network of the University of Evansville, and I think well worth the time to read, and then to reflect on what it says.

All young adolescents in Indiana need access to the kinds of reading opportunities that will allow them to grow up to be successful members of a literate community. It is the responsibility of the entire community to offer support for providing these opportunities. Our ultimate goal is the creation of Communities of Readers where each young adolescent will be able to fulfill his or her potential as a reader.

     To that end, we believe that Indiana's young adolescents deserve:

* Access to current, appealing, high-interest, and useful books and other reading materials in their classrooms, homes, public and school libraries, and other locations within the community.

* Schools that feature an environment where reading is valued, promoted, and encouraged.

* Dedicated time during the school day to read for a variety of purposes - for pleasure, information, and exploration.

* Teachers and school librarians who continually seek to renew their skills and excitement in sharing reading with young people through participation in diverse professional development activities.

* Public libraries that provide services specifically designed to engage young people's interest in reading.

* Community-based programs that encourage them in all aspects of their reading development.

* Opportunities for reading at home and support from schools, public libraries, and community agencies to families with young adolescents to encourage family reading activities.

* Communities of Readers in which all adults - in school, at home, and across the community - serve as role models and provide guidance to ensure that reading is a priority in young people's lives.

Comments, suggestions and even rude remarks are welcomed!
Email accepted at "kber at earthlink dot net"
Preface email messages with "teacherken" so I know they are not spam.
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