Building A Reading Life in 3rd Grade

She’s the Michael Jordan of educators.

And she’s whispering in my ear as I teach. Well, not exactly. But I feel like I hear her voice as I talk to my students about reading and writing. Who is this amazing woman, you ask? Lucy Calkins, the author of our reading and writing curriculum, Founding Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, and professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked with children and educators for over thirty years, and it is very exciting to be able to implement the programs she researched and created.  It is a privilege to be at The Martin J. Gottlieb Day School where we have curriculum that is this stellar.

You might be thinking, big deal. Curriculum shurickulum. I’m here to tell you that this #isareallybigdeal. Third graders (your darlings) start the year off by learning about how to build a reading life. A reading life!  The first several weeks are spent thinking about how books are like gold (valuable and treasured), setting goals to support volume and stamina, finding “just right” books, reading with fluency and expression, and diving deeper into comprehension. They learn about authors’ craft, character development, figurative language, and developing questions. Students read books that they’re excited about, and they become part of a literate community that shares the joy of beautiful writing. Wow!

You might wonder what you can do at home to support your child’s literacy. It’s hard when there are after school sports, activities, gadgets and play-dates. The Washington Post published an article (click here) that has reasonable ideas to help build a reading life. One of the ideas I loved was sharing your own love of reading, and talking about a part that made you smile or that really caught your attention. I’ll be sharing those moments with my students this year too.

We’re off to a fantastic start in third grade! Please remember to send your child to school with a full tummy so they’re ready to learn, a snack, and a good night of sleep. The photos you’ve sent of your child reading in their favorite cozy place are fantastic. Please remember to send me one if you haven’t done so already.

“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”~ Anna Quindlen

Shabbat Shalom!


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