Before students can walk into school with their nose in a book — totally engrossed in the latest Dog Man or Wings of Fire — or stop to share their favorite I Survived title with friends, they need to be able to see themselves as readers, which is why cultivating a reading identity is so critical for educators and their students.
According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, 70 percent of kids list their teacher or school librarian as someone who encourages them to read for fun. Another 40 percent of kids said that they get most of their reading material from school. This is why modeling your own reading identity makes all the difference in encouraging your students' love of reading as well.
What is a reading identity? Formed over time, reading identities are associated with how capable a student believes they are at comprehending texts and the value they place on reading. In other words, it requires an inquiry into a student’s understanding of both who they are as a reader and why they read.
Scholastic Editors spoke to long-time teacher Julie Ballew who teaches language arts and social studies in Houston, Texas. With a background as a literacy coach, she shared her three favorite tips to help students build a strong reading identity.