MAY 12-18 IS NATIONAL ‘READING IS FUN’ WEEK

READ A BOOK JUST FOR FUN!

Reading is Fun Week has been around since 1979, a time when I was teaching seventh graders who ranged from loving to read to hating it. Since they had a forty-five minute English class to cover grammar, composition, and literature, my forty-five minute class’s purpose was to motivate and encourage students to read. We dealt with basic skills like finding the main idea, recognizing supporting details, using context clues, making inferences and drawing conclusions; in other words everything that made up comprehension. At that time my biggest goal was to make reading fun, so everything else would fall into place.

We had a bi-weekly magazine from Scholastic titled, Read, which had cool jokes, skits, articles, puzzles, and craziness for pre-teens and teens. I only received 30 copies every other week, so I guarded them with my life! Some of the activities and articles I still use when I want to insert a little humor or fun into my university curriculum. When I left junior high (then, grades 7 and 8) to teach 6th graders in an elementary setting, I packed the magazines in the boxes they were shipped in, labeled them according to month, and stacked them in the teachers closet for my replacement. She said she hardly had to make a lesson plan; she just unpacked a box each first and fifteenth of the month.

The main thing we did for fun was free reading. At first the students took this as an opportunity to goof off or take a little snooze. However, I did nothing during that time myself except read, and often we would take the whole forty-five minutes, leaving those who were not reading bored out of their minds; soon they joined in. We had a “Top Ten” bulletin board, which listed titles and authors on cardboard strips according to popularity, and students loved to see if a book they were reading had placed or moved place each week. Also, these titles provided recommendations from their peers. I was kept busy making trips to Half-Price Books to buy copies for the classroom library. There were no discipline problems; all I had to do was threaten to take the time away, and peer pressure solved the situation. Several times I had enough “points” from book orders from Scholastic to buy a classroom set of the same title. We read S. E. Hinton’s The Outsiders and Where the Red Fern Grows this way. When I introduced a class book, I would read to the first cliffhanger then pass out the books for silent reading. NO ONE was ever asked to read aloud.

My years of teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th graders were some of the “funnest” years of my teaching career, and it was all because reading was FUN!

Author: Rae Longest

This year (2019) finds me with 50 years of teaching "under my belt." I have taught all levels from pre-K "(library lady" or "book lady"--volunteer) to juniors, seniors, and graduate students enrolled in my Advanced Writing class at the university where I have just completed 30 years. My first paying teaching job was junior high, and I spent 13 years with ages 12-13, the "difficult years." I had some of the "funnest" experiences with this age group. When I was no longer the "young, fun teacher," I taught in an elementary school setting before sixth graders went on to junior high, teaching language arts blocs, an assignment that was a "dream-fit" for me. After completing graduate school in my 40s, I went on to community college, then university teaching. Just as teaching is "in my blood," so is a passion for reading, writing, libraries, and everything bookish. This blog will be open to anyone who loves books, promotes literacy and wants to "come out and play."

5 thoughts on “MAY 12-18 IS NATIONAL ‘READING IS FUN’ WEEK”

  1. I was one of those kids who carried at least one book to read in my book bag. The library was my safe haven from the world, the place where my book friends lived.
    The Scholastic READ magazines were wonderful! I remember my boy’s bringing a few home. I mourned the day when my kids were too old for the Scholastic book fair. They offered so many wonderful books.
    Thanks for bringing back those fond memories.
    Tambra

    Liked by 1 person

  2. When I worked in the library we always had our Scholastic Book Fair during this week. We also had a half day readathon where the whole school read or did book related fun activities. We would have guest readers, classes could choose themes like PJ party, dress like your favourite character, reading cafe and so on. It was always a fun week.

    Liked by 1 person

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