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September 15, 2014

Open a World of Possible for Your Students

By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    When I was in an undergraduate class many years ago, one of our assignments was to create a reading autobiography. What this consisted of was thinking and writing about our view of reading, and explaining how it was that we became readers. This was one of those assignments that many may have forgotten as soon as it was turned in, but it really changed me. I am not the fastest reader, but I love to read. I had already started writing my paper about how I was a natural reader, when it occurred to me to call my parents and ask them what my favorite books were and if they read to me from birth.

    Since I worked three jobs and went to college at night, it was the weekend before the paper was due before I could call. My dad answered the phone and I told him about my project. His first words to me were, “Well, we didn’t think you were ever gonna learn to read! Your teacher had to start doing that phonics with you and we had to work with you at home every night.” After he said that I suddenly had a flashback of all of these letter worksheets that I did at home in kindergarten. I was initially devastated. How had I thought I was a natural reader? With reflection, I came to the conclusion that I should be thankful that I had people who were committed enough to my education to make sure that I got what I needed to be successful.

    Scholastic has introduced a new reading initiative, Open a World of Possible, to help children disccover the pleasure and power of reading. That phrase not only got me thinking about my personal path to becoming a reader, but also about how important it is for me as a teacher to open my students’ "world of possible."

    A combination of phonics and my parents working with me every night, "opened a world of possible" for me and I am forever grateful. Since my world of possible was opened I have: learned how to be curious from a little monkey named George; been named King of the Wild Things but abdicated my throne for a warm bed and hot meal; waited for the monster at the end of the book; and watched as the Herdman’s simultaneously ruined our town’s Christmas pageant while reminding us all the real reason for the season.

    Exposing our children to books they want to read for the joy of reading opens their world, and allows them to travel to places and times they would have never known otherwise. Our world is directly dependent on the next generation’s imagination and creativity, and those skills are cultivated through books. I am forever grateful to my mom and dad, and my kindergarten teacher Miss Joyce for opening my world of possible.

    Pigeon plush

    I love that I get to be involved with introducing my students to all the rich and varied possibilities that literature presents. Some of the ways that I convey the importance of books to my daughter and to my class are:

     

    • Allowing students to share their favorite books

    • Guest readers reading their favorite books

    I could talk forever about opening a world of possible but now it’s your turn. Please share with us how you opened your world of possible in the comment section below, on Twitter (@dad2ella), or Facebook by using the hashtags #sharepossible and #scholastic.

    Let’s connect on Pinterest and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next week.

    Join us for an exclusive video with Taylor Swift about books, and how reading and writing have influenced her.

     

     

     

     

    When I was in an undergraduate class many years ago, one of our assignments was to create a reading autobiography. What this consisted of was thinking and writing about our view of reading, and explaining how it was that we became readers. This was one of those assignments that many may have forgotten as soon as it was turned in, but it really changed me. I am not the fastest reader, but I love to read. I had already started writing my paper about how I was a natural reader, when it occurred to me to call my parents and ask them what my favorite books were and if they read to me from birth.

    Since I worked three jobs and went to college at night, it was the weekend before the paper was due before I could call. My dad answered the phone and I told him about my project. His first words to me were, “Well, we didn’t think you were ever gonna learn to read! Your teacher had to start doing that phonics with you and we had to work with you at home every night.” After he said that I suddenly had a flashback of all of these letter worksheets that I did at home in kindergarten. I was initially devastated. How had I thought I was a natural reader? With reflection, I came to the conclusion that I should be thankful that I had people who were committed enough to my education to make sure that I got what I needed to be successful.

    Scholastic has introduced a new reading initiative, Open a World of Possible, to help children disccover the pleasure and power of reading. That phrase not only got me thinking about my personal path to becoming a reader, but also about how important it is for me as a teacher to open my students’ "world of possible."

    A combination of phonics and my parents working with me every night, "opened a world of possible" for me and I am forever grateful. Since my world of possible was opened I have: learned how to be curious from a little monkey named George; been named King of the Wild Things but abdicated my throne for a warm bed and hot meal; waited for the monster at the end of the book; and watched as the Herdman’s simultaneously ruined our town’s Christmas pageant while reminding us all the real reason for the season.

    Exposing our children to books they want to read for the joy of reading opens their world, and allows them to travel to places and times they would have never known otherwise. Our world is directly dependent on the next generation’s imagination and creativity, and those skills are cultivated through books. I am forever grateful to my mom and dad, and my kindergarten teacher Miss Joyce for opening my world of possible.

    Pigeon plush

    I love that I get to be involved with introducing my students to all the rich and varied possibilities that literature presents. Some of the ways that I convey the importance of books to my daughter and to my class are:

     

    • Allowing students to share their favorite books

    • Guest readers reading their favorite books

    I could talk forever about opening a world of possible but now it’s your turn. Please share with us how you opened your world of possible in the comment section below, on Twitter (@dad2ella), or Facebook by using the hashtags #sharepossible and #scholastic.

    Let’s connect on Pinterest and Twitter.

    I can’t wait to see you next week.

    Join us for an exclusive video with Taylor Swift about books, and how reading and writing have influenced her.

     

     

     

     

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