A school for books


How can we bring up readers? Reading will be at the existential heart of our school. If we succeed at raising readers, we'll have succeeded overall — and if we fail here, we'll have failed everywhere.

What do we mean by "readers"? Let's (as always!) look to our three goals —


We'll bring up people who are *hungry* to read — who pick up fiction and nonfiction, who relish both its escapism and its realism, who like to read alone and with others.


We'll bring up people who *excel* at reading — who have vast vocabularies, strong focus, and variable speeds. For them, reading will be easier — they'll have top-notch skills in decoding, and deep reservoirs of content knowledge to ease comprehension.


We'll bring up people who *use* reading to build themselves — who browse broadly, who ask questions, and who stockpile personally meaningful quotes and quips.

I'll be exploring the nuances of these over the next few days. But first, a confession:

I'm a reader. (Of the "problematic" sort — I got in trouble as a kid for hauling multiple books into every situation, socially appropriate or not.) And I teach high-level reading. (A course on the campus of the University of Washington.)

But I'm out of my depth when I talk about how to teach reading to children. I've read a lot of books, but it's not my expertise. There are lots of people whose entire academic training is on this one subject. So: please forgive me in advance, and correct me in the comments section. I'll be thankful for any feedback I receive!