“Thanks for reading that to me. You may have saved my life. ”
“Wow! I’m glad you caught that. Something terrible could have happened.”
Seem overly dramatic? What if you didn’t read the prescription label and took someone else’s pills or the wrong amount? You could die. What if you didn’t read the label printed inside your car door or on your tire and over inflated your tire? It could explode. Or in the case of my ex-husband, you could put 70 pounds of pressure in a tire in winter and have no traction at all on ice – causing us to go careening across the road into a deep ditch. Reading is a vital activity that saves lives and is a necessary skill.
Often librarians emphasize how good reading makes you feel, but as teachers we need to help children and young adults understand that all types of reading are valuable. The ability to read car manuals, road signs, driver’s education training materials, car purchasing documents, and insurance papers is important. I took my sons with me to the store to teach them how to look up my car model and locate the parts I needed. This is an essential reference and research tool. It requires reading. Yes, some computer programs now can do this, but its much faster if you are standing in an aisle and can flip to the chart and scan along the page to your model. We even would have races against the computer to see who could find the right part first.
The ability to read cook books, food labels, warning labels on cooking pans and oils, and recipes online is important. Teaching children how to read the labels on boxes to see how many ounces of jello are in the box compared to how many they need in the recipe then teaching them how to compute changes are valuable hands-on-skills parents need to be involved in. These are teachable moments when a simple comment on the importance of being able to scan quickly can be effective.
A trend in schools is to focus on social and emotional learning (again). This week I will spend two days on Restorative Practices and focus on SEL. While I am thinking about student’s emotional well-being, I am also thinking about their needs to validate their reading abilities and their recognition of when they are reading. Not just when they are novel reading, but when they are “vital reading.”
Please continue to leave comments of positive phrases to promote reading.