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2 quick ways to promote a reading culture

NJTfavicon Today I got to visit my friend and former colleague Nancy Jo Turner, an excellent ninth grade English teacher in Berkeley.

The first thing Nancy Jo did when I arrived was to show off her fancy new HP Chromebook! Last month, I challenged loyal Iserotope readers and Ms. Turner’s former students to help fund a Chromebook for her classroom. It was a huge success! Then, just for fun, I asked for another Chromebook over on DonorsChoose, which will arrive next week. That means that Nancy Jo now has four Chromebooks, with just 26 to go.

The rest of the visit, we hung out and talked about reading. This year, Nancy Jo has built a classroom library of more than 750 titles. More important, she’s building a reading culture. Here are two quick ways that she’s doing it:

1. A new arrivals bookshelf.

2014-03-06 16.35.20 copy

Nancy Jo understands that the whole point of having a classroom library is to get books “sold” (like a bookstore), to circulate them, to get them in the hands of students. One of the best ways is by having a display for new books. Nancy Jo’s is clean and classy.

2. Celebrating completed books.

2014-03-06 16.28.16These certificates are prominently displayed in the hallways outside Nancy Jo’s classroom, and they’re perfect. What’s great about the Renegade Bookworm Club is that it honors students by welcoming them into a reading community. The Dr. Seuss quotation is also perfect. And so is the language in the certificate that emphasizes celebration.

That’s what reading is, after all — it’s a celebration! (Re)building a reading culture takes time, resources, patience, and passion, and it’s wonderful to see Nancy Jo and other colleagues create classrooms where students reclaim their love of reading.

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