International Literacy Day and the publication of my students’ first e-book coincided today. This year the International Literacy Association reflects upon the Steps to Literacy and the amount students must travel just to make it to school – let alone learn to read. I am fortunate to work with students who mostly did not step far to find their favorite books and arrive at school.
This week we gathered together each morning as a reading community to share our favorite picture books and memories from home. Using BookMaker app, we created our first book together about books we love.
To prepare, I sent a letter home inviting families to talk about their favorite books and reading memories. Children shared reasons for loving books from snuggling with mom to enjoying a funny story. We learned about our classmates’ interests and reflected on our own. Every single child in my class has strong home connections to books because of their families.
What does this have to do with international literacy? Everything. These readers, whose parents have spent countless hours reading with their children, have deep connections to literacy. Their ability to seamlessly document this in a collective text demonstrates families matter. Leisurely reading with and to children connects them in ways to books we cannot fully comprehend or replicate in school.
Now, my hope is not to just teach my first graders to read, but to teach them to love reading with purpose. And to go into the world and spread that love of reading. For one day, everyone, everywhere can love to read as much as these six year olds do.