This is how you build a love of reading

You won't be surprised to learn that when I look back at my favorite elementary school reading memories, the best ones were times when I felt relaxed, happy, and fully engaged with a story I loved. They never involved feeling stressed or bored. I wasn't worried about reading at my level (did I have a level? Who knows!). I wasn't trying to improve myself by checking authors off the canon. I was having a good time.

In second grade, my teacher read aloud to us all the time. She read Charlotte's Web and Bridge to Terabithia, and surely other less emotionally devastating titles as well! But now, three decades later, I remember where I was sitting on the carpet when we learned that (spoiler) Leslie died.

I went to the school library and looked at National Geographic magazine, and read, lying on my stomach on the shag rug (the 70s were still happening in my school). I went to my local library for story hour and eventually proudly graduated from the kid room to the teen room.

All of these experiences had in common choice, curiosity, and joy.

Over on Reader Leader, expert educators share their experiences around choice, curiosity and joy:

Happy reading!