Celebrate Good Times, Come On
We all know that refrain. We immediately hear Kool & the Gang singing in our heads. It probably brings a smile to our faces. Maybe the last time you heard it you were celebrating someone you care about at a wedding.
What else do you celebrate? Family? Friends? Birthdays? Holidays? Important events in your life? Successes at work? The list is endless. When we celebrate, we often acknowledge our pleasure with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.
When we celebrate, we elevate. We send a message that the person we are celebrating matters. The success we achieved matters. The event or activity we are celebrating matters. Of course, at Book Trust it’s our practice to especially encourage our teachers and students to celebrate Reading—because it matters.
We celebrate to appreciate. When we take time to be grateful for something, we remind ourselves not to take things for granted—whether it is your mom on Mother’s Day or your teacher during Teacher Appreciation Week. Reading is something we should appreciate. Reading is something we should not take for granted.
Yet, so many of us do.
According to UNICEF, there are 115 million illiterate youth in the world. Thirty-two million adults in the US cannot read. And, 70% percent of prison inmates can’t read.
Does this begin to make you appreciate that you can read? I hope so. This is why we should celebrate reading.
Why celebrate reading?
When we celebrate reading, we teach our children that reading is important. Reading is fun. Reading is exciting. When we celebrate reading, we motivate kids to read and motivation matters. According to literacy expert and Book Trust Academic Advisory board member Dr. Linda Gambrell, “motivation to read can be defined as the likelihood of engaging in reading or choosing to read.” When kids choose to read, they read more and become more engaged in reading. “Engaged readers are intrinsically motivated to read for a variety of personal goals, strategic in their reading behaviors, knowledgeable in their construction of new understandings from text, and socially interactive about the reading of text. Therefore, promoting intrinsic motivation to read should be given a high priority in the reading curriculum.”
Book Trust promotes this intrinsic motivation through choice and ownership of books and celebration of reading. Giving kids the chance to choose books they want to read motivates them to read. Our teachers celebrate reading which motivates kids to want to read even more. It is this motivation that creates engaged readers, and it’s engaged reading that drives success in school and ultimately in life.
So, how do we celebrate in Book Trust schools?
Teachers play a vital role in imbuing students with excitement and joy around reading. Teachers in Book Trust schools create a buzz about reading and put reading at the core of school life. This might happen in classrooms through the teacher inviting a special guest reader, or children swapping their latest Book Trust books with each other. It might be on book delivery day when the book box arrives. Celebrating Reading is about creating a sense of magic- on the one hand teaching everyone to read- but also making reading so exciting that children can’t help but want to pick up a book. You can learn more about how our teachers celebrate reading in #VaultStories, or clicking on the photo above. This coming school year, we’ll be sharing even more stories and ideas with teachers, from teachers, as we roll out the new Teacher Toolkits and our new spin on Book Delivery Celebrations, called Feed the Read – more on that later!
Next, how do you celebrate reading at home?
Parents have an even greater responsibility to celebrate reading at home. Model for your children that reading matters and most importantly, that reading is a positive experience that you can participate in together. The more your kids see reading as something you do together, the more they will want to read. Here are five ways to celebrate reading at home:
- Give a book to your child for his/her birthday. Wrap it with extra ribbons and bows. Make it a tradition so that your child is excited for his or her annual birthday book.
- Ask for a book for your birthday and make sure your child sees you reading it.
- Build a bookshelf with your child. Let your child choose how to decorate it (even if it might not be how you would choose to decorate it!)
- Celebrate reading milestones. After they finish their first chapter book, go out for ice cream or another favorite treat.
- Take trips to the library and book store together. Make sure you are getting books for both of you.
How do you celebrate reading at home? Add your celebration ideas and traditions to the conversation – we’re collecting and sharing your stories on our Facebook page. Use #feedtheread to share yours and to see what other creative Book Trust fans come up with.