The media loves to remind everyone these days of the reality that students’ reading and writing abilities are sliding. We can point the finger at outside influences like television or internet usage or texting, but there are certainly things we can all do to bolster these basic skills in small, subtle ways. Things like writing messages to the students on the board at the beginning of the day, encouraging students to write you notes that you could respond to, modeling good reading by reading aloud to your class and sharing why you like the book, or becoming pen pals with another class over the internet. Our custodian even left a positive message for our class one day! These are but a few of the examples of how you can coax your students into using their reading and writing skills.
At a set time each day or each week, all available staff members at some schools, including secretaries, custodians, principals and kitchen aides, share reading time either reading to small groups of students, or with students reading to them. Remind those who interact with your class that modeling desired behavior is a good way to pass it on.