So I find myself back here again enjoying the last week long, sun- and dream-filled weeks of summer vacation before the school year starts. Before the happy laughter down the hallway, before the meetings and events pile up, and before the leaves begin to turn and the air grows crisp. I stick my toes a little deeper in the sand hanging on to it all.

I love summer. I mean obviously because of the weather, and the seemingly endless days, and the way the sunshine plays off the hair of the people we love. But I also love summer because I have so much more time to read. 

I was born a reader and have always loved immersing myself in stories, falling in love with characters, and thinking about books long after the last page was turned. As a teacher, though, a hard truth ten years ago was learning that not all kids are like me. Not all kids love reading books and consider it pure pleasure to open up brand new never-before-been-read pages. Not all kids even like reading. Some hate it.

Well, I accidentally-on-purpose came across this article half-thinking about the topic of reluctant readers while putting our little girl to sleep the other night. I sincerely hope that we’re able to instill in her a love of the magic of books, which got me to thinking about how many of the parents of my students probably hoped for the same thing only to find themselves with a child who’d rather do anything but.  

What’s a book-loving elementary teacher to do? Let’s face it – motivating kids to be passionate about something (and to do it for the right reasons) is really tough and can’t be done with a one-size-fits-all approach, but for starters, I especially like the ideas of quick book talks and using technology in reading (numbers 11 and 12). Neither one of these are brand new concepts, but rather are good reminders that kids really love two things: having the floor to share their opinions with their classmates and using computers in the classroom to do just about anything. I will definitely check out with my students.

Motivating kids to pick up a book simply for the pleasure of it is something that I’m passionate about and will always strive to do. I’ll even ponder it and gather new ideas during the lazy, hazy days of summer, weeks before those little minds fill up my classroom. Weeks before the hustle and bustle of it all. Because, after all, every child deserves the opportunity to fall in love with reading.

Ellen Raupp

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