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Education

Upcoming Chat: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 03, 2009 1 min read

I’d like to alert any educators involved in the teaching of reading to a chat at edweek.org scheduled for next week with Donalyn Miller, a 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher. She’s also the author of The Book Whisperer, which was recently published by Education Week Press and Jossey-Bass.

The chat will take place on Tuesday, April 7, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

I’m sure my elementary school teachers helped expand my reading vocabulary and comprehension, but I cannot give them credit for inspiring me to love reading. I remember that in 1st grade, my classmates and I read dry stories from early readers aloud in turns, going around the room in order, and we weren’t supposed to read ahead, even if a classmate took FOREVER to stumble and mumble through a few sentences.

It’s my mother who nurtured my “inner reader” by regularly taking me to the public library as far back as I can remember and before that. I remember sitting in a chair in our living room when I was about 8 years old, laughing out loud at Ramona in Ramona the Pest, by Beverly Clearly. Ramona asked her father to turn on “the dawnzer,” which she thought was a kind of lamp. She’d mistakenly picked up the term by hearing a rendition of The Star Spangled Banner in which someone ran together the words in the phrase, “the dawn’s early light.” I thought that was hilarious. And apparently, I’m not the only one who remembers that story as an adult.

And though my mother was strict with me in many regards, she never censured my reading, which I’m grateful for. I went through a stage of reading shallow romance novels but soon learned I’d rather spend my time on more creative and unpredictable stories.

I realize not every child has a mother or caretaker who loves to read and knows how to support him or her to blossom as a reader. That’s why the job of reading teachers is so important.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.

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