teach brother to read
In The Beginning

At the age of five, I discovered that learning to read was my goal. I was lucky to have loving adults always willing to read to me — but I really wanted to do it myself. I was always surrounded by a variety of books. Lots and lots of books, trips to the library and book store. Whenever I wanted to learn something new I was given appropriate reading material. I was given the message loud and clear that reading was valued in our home. The adults were role models, I was surrounded by people reading books, magazines, and poetry. I felt that the adults in my life were very fortunate to be able to read everything. They could learn anything that they wanted just by picking up a book.

Being able to read was powerful and I knew that was for me. After I learned to read I wanted to teach everyone else to read too. Now my goal moved to being a teacher. If I could teach someone to read then they would have a voice and the dream of a bright future. I noticed that some children around me didn’t have books. Maybe they didn’t have the opportunity to read or the desire.

After high school it was off to college to become a teacher. Then my dream of teaching would become a reality. College was a joyful journey with lots of books. My first teaching position was teaching students with reading difficulties or lack of reading opportunities. My job was to teach my students the necessary skills to read and help them discover the joy of reading. Reading skills are very important but without the desire to read the child will not practice enough to become a proficient reader. Reading would enable them to dream about a future. Reading gives students hope.

A few years later I began teaching first grade. I knew that was the perfect age to teach children to read when they were anxious to read. Since the age of five, I’ve been focused on the importance of learning to read. Reading really does enable all dreams. I started the Book Club with my first grade class. Many parent and community volunteers helped with the program. The adults came to school each day to read with individual children. The children choose an interesting book on their instructional level and with the help of the volunteer they read it together. Our community generously donated a nice assortment of used, early-reading books.

The program was so successful in helping the children practice their skills in a nurturing environment that many more volunteers wanted to join. We were able to include the other four first-grade classes. I applied for grants to purchase more books to accommodate the additional students and their interests. Next we added the Kindergarten classes and second grade classes. The first year that all the kindergarten, first and second grade classes joined my Book Club we logged 10,000 books from September to May. That was a great goal, but we could do more. My goal was every child in my class would read 100 books from September to June. I needed enough volunteers to read with every child every day. The children were given daily reading instruction and one-on-one time with a volunteer to practice those newly acquired skills. They set their personal goals and a class goal. This year my first grade class read 10,000 books in one school year. Every child meet their personal goal of 100 or more. They became great readers. They love to compete with others to get to their goals first. Children love to compete and also love to encourage others to met their goal. Each child does their personal best and helps others to add to the group goal. We were building a community of readers — one child at a time.