A Reading Life? Is Modeling Reading Behaviour Enough?

I think I’m a reader because my parents are readers.  I grew up watching my mom devour romance novels and my dad dive into the paper every day.  We always had magazines, books, academic journals and newspapers in our home.  While we rarely went to the library after elementary school, twice a month I was given a few bucks to spend at Annie’s Book Stop, a local used bookstore.  I bought gems!  I found The Hitchhiker’s Guide and the Belgarion at Annie’s.  I bought poems and pulp fiction and Sweet Valley High for 50 cents each.  I still have my copy of the complete stories of Edgar Allen Poe.  Thus was my reading life sustained during the years I might have given up on reading from lack of choice and access.  

I’m thinking about this as I read more about Sustained Silent Reading, book choice, summer reading, incentive programs, etc.  How do we create readers and, in the MS/US environment, keep them reading?  How do we create an environment in which reading for pleasure is a given and students are excited to read a wide array of sources?  There are so many answers in educator’s circles and even some arguments (for or against summer reading prizes, anyone?)

This is all to say that I think we need to do more to model reading in my library.  I think it sends a powerful message to kids to see adults and their peers reading for pleasure.  Maybe we need to have a Read-in or create Read posters or create a nook specifically for reading magazines.  Maybe I need to spend more time documenting and sharing the excellent reading behaviour I already see in some students and teachers.  It’s always been a goal of mine to have a One Book program with an author visit…

What are the things you do to model and encourage reading for pleasure?

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