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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Nurturing Literacy: Tips and Resources For Developing Lifelong Readers

The importance of early literacy cannot be understated. Countless studies have shown that students who start reading earlier are better prepared for the academic road ahead. Not to mention, early readers are much more likely to become lifelong readers.

Parents and teachers play an important role in lifelong literacy, but how exactly can they best help their kids cultivate a love for reading? Well, there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, and I'm sure you all have strategies of your own. But we wanted to highlight a few resources from around the Web that can offer support in this challenging task.

  • Early Literacy Teaching Guides: MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS, an early literacy advocacy nonprofit, offers a wealth of resources for educators. And MWFB’s early literacy teaching guides are just one example. Each guide offers tips, strategies and activities for helping young learners develop a love for reading. The MWFB website also features a section for families that offers information about early literacy and strategies for enjoying books with your kids.
  • Excerpts from Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading: ASCD published the first chapter of Steve Gardiner’s book for free, with other chapters available if you purchase the e-book. The first chapter is a wonderful resource, and it provides a solid overview of SSR, some research behind it, and ideas for incorporating a silent reading program in your classroom. Also check out sixth-grade teacher Donalyn Miller’s article “Becoming a Classroom of Readers,” originally printed in Educational Leadership, which offers strategies for encouraging reading in your classroom.
  • Early Literacy Resources from Reading Is Fundamental: Early literacy nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental produced this collection of activities, book lists, articles and multicultural reading resources, and it's full of helpful information. For middle school students, there’s the interactive reading resource “Reading Planet” that would certainly be useful in class. You might start with the article "Getting Your Child to Love Reading,” by Kathryn Perkins.
  • Tips for Creating a Home Library from Reading Rockets: Reading Rockets is a fabulous source for reading resources for parents and teachers. It’s hard to pick just one piece -- but I felt that this article really fit with the theme of cultivating a love of reading. A home library is a powerful motivator for kids, and here you’ll find fun tips for putting one together on any budget. For students who use tablets for reading, “Top 12 Comprehension Apps,” is a great source for reading tech inspiration.
  • Interactive Reading Resources from ReadWriteThink: These interactive resources from ReadWriteThink cover a variety of topics. But for reading specific modules, check out the Learning About Language and Organizing and Summarizing collections. Both offer some extremely useful tools to encourage deeper reading, comprehension and organizing notes and research.

    Really, there are many different useful tech resources. Which ones do you use in your classroom? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out these other useful tech resources for reading comprehension:

  • Some Recent Edutopia Reading Blogs:

    Edutopia's bloggers wrote some pretty inspiring posts about literacy and lifelong reading last year. These are just a few from 2013 that were hits with our readers, and each one offers practical tips, tools and strategies for encouraging students to read.

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