Working with students is so inspiring. Just the way they look at the world with their young eyes challenges my own way of thinking. This is why it is so important for us to start reading to our children from the moment they are born. Reading expands a child’s world exponentially each and every time we open a book with a child on our lap. Each and every one of our young people have such incredible potential to learn. But it is hard to learn if we can’t read. We used to think of literacy as just our ability to read, but today literacy encompasses technological skills, as well as knowledge of health and personal finances but the foundation to all literacy is the ability to read.
Our job as teacher librarians is to match readers to books that will inspire them to want to read more and more. Learning to read is hard work and no one is going to succeed in reading unless they are interested in what they are reading. Reading fluency depends on our ability to inspire students to want to read because it is only with practice that we become fluent readers and writers. Stop for a minute and imagine what it might be like to not be able to read! A person who can’t read is unable to be independent, unable to help themselves and their families. Not only are there incredibly debilitating consequences for illiterate individuals but there are enormous negative consequences for our communities, both local and international.
We need to make a commitment to literacy by creating community partnerships between school librarians and public librarians, government and community leaders need to provide support community partnerships with sustainable funding models but mostly we all need to think a little bit out of the box and make it happen! We are all depending on it!