The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Why We Read

I had an interesting conversation with my students this morning. We were finally starting to break into our basal reader series and I wanted students to think about why we focus so much on reading. More to the point, why do we read? I have heard of adults who proudly state that they have never read an entire book since high school. It makes me sad. So I wanted to know why my students read now. My hope is that if they reflect on it now, they will develop life-long reading habits.

So I asked, “Why do you read?” Then I wrote the question on the board and asked the students to share reasons. As they shared, I wrote them down around the initial question. I was thrilled by the responses!

“We read now because we need to become better readers. As we grow up, we are going to be reading everything! Street signs, recipes, job descriptions. We always have to read!”

“We read because we are interested in the topic.”

“We read because we want to learn more about something.”

“We read so that we can understand people whose experiences are different from our own.”

“We read about the things we want to do as grown ups.”

“I like to read catalogs so I can learn more about things I want to buy.”

“We read so that we can expand our vocabulary.”

“We read because it is fun!”

“We read so we can learn how to do something better.”

There are a lot of reasons to read. I am glad that my students recognise so many of them. None of them said that they read because they have to. None of them said that they don’t read. None of them said that they don’t like to read. Those who responded received positive affirmations from their classmates. With all of the challenges that we have, I feel confident that I have a classroom of readers and I am excited about the books we will get to share, the lessons we will learn from them, and the connections we will make with authors and illustrators.

You may be wondering why I read. I read for all of these reasons and more. I read because I can’t help it! So, why do you read? Please share your reasons in the comments so I can pass them on to my students!

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