Amelia Hewitt holds an Ed.D. in early childhood education. She is an Associate Professor in Early Childhood at the University of Houston-Downtown. She has 25+ years of experience as a teacher. Her primary area of interest is addressing the needs of the child through purposeful play and developmentally appropriate teaching.
Changing the reading lives of children by starting with the reading lives of preservice teachers.
Teachers should love to read. Yet, many preservice teachers are choosing not to read. To effect reading lives around the world, we must start with those who grow readers. Data and short videos highlighting the reading lives of primary-level preservice teachers will be shared, leaving attendees with an understanding of how reading lives can positively change through teacher education.
Teachers must love reading in order to effectively grow young readers. Yet, there is a disturbing trend coursing through primary teacher education right now. Many preservice teachers are not readers, joining the majority of American adults who are aliterate and can read but choose not to (Powell-Brown, 2004; Trelease, 2013). What happens if we are certifying early literacy teachers who are aliterate? They grow aliterate early readers who become teens and adults who choose not to read. In order to change the reading lives of children, teens, and adults around the world, teachers of literacy must be readers themselves. Why? Teachers have to know children’s literature so they can help children choose thought-provoking books to read, build classroom libraries, match books with children’s interests, provide parents with options to read at home, and teach strategies and skills in the context of authentic texts. They need to have a contagious love of reading and spread that passion in their classrooms. Learning to read will never be meaningful and purposeful if those guiding young children are not choosing to read widely and deeply for pleasure. Those of us who train teachers have an obligation to enact change. An investigation of the literacy lives of preservice teachers gives guidance on how to make a quick and enduring influence on the reading habits of teachers before they enter the classroom. These preservice teacher voices offer insight into how to transform of the way teachers are trained.
Powell-Brown, A. (2004). Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47(4), 284-288.
Trelease, J. (2013). The read-aloud handbook (7th ed.). New York: Penguin Books