The Rights and Responsibilities of Reading

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Recently the International Reading Association (ILA) has promoted its 10-point “bill” of Children’s Rights to Read. I’ve written about this before during ILA’s push earlier this year to get everyone on the planet to endorse these rights. I bring this up again, because I’m a believer that with every right comes some form of responsibility. For example, the right to vote carries with it the responsibility to be informed about candidates and ballot issues, and then to show up on voting day.

The ILA’s Rights to READ are not legal rights, of course. They are more like promises for us to make for the benefit of children everywhere. They were proposed as a way to establish some important and powerful beliefs about literacy and its unquestionable significance in the development of any kind of solid education.

Given that, I invite you to reflect with me what might be the responsibilities that we should teach children that give them a clear, active role in protecting their reading rights and growing the literate communities in which they will live.

Here are a few responsibilities I have thought of:

  1. The responsibility to learn about and to access ideas and information that come from fully credible sources.
  2. The responsibility to step up and request assistance for navigating a challenging text.
  3. The responsibility to reject texts and authors that feel impertinent in their lives.
  4. The responsibility to state their expectations and needs for adequate free reading time for enjoying self-selected books.
  5. The responsibility to unblushingly question whether an assigned book meets their needs for pleasure or information
  6. The responsibility to consistently initiate conversations about their readings with classmates and families
  7. The responsibility to announce their eagerness to engage in writing, speaking and visually representing the personal impacts of their readings.

What other rights do you feel should be listed here? Please share those with me and other readers to share more expectations you would like to see taught to help children shape and participate in the development of their literacy and their education.

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