Some children don’t learn to love books and reading in school. Estimates are as high as 25 percent of children grow up as non-readers. It’s not that they can’t read’ they just don’t. Superintendents might swear their youngsters have gone through “good” schools. However, if the kids from good schools don’t love books and reading, how can we call them “good?”
I believe schools have a Golden Goal which is an absolutely essential goal for every child, regardless of the teacher and despite the school’s reputation.
EVERY child will love books and reading by the time they leave school.
Every child. No exceptions.
I’m not suggesting that math, literature, science, history, civics and all the other subject areas aren’t deserving of attention. However, any child who loves books and reading will predictably extend their learning in all subjects, throughout life and they will undoubtedly become BUFF.
Think of Buffs who you know…history Buffs, dinosaur Buffs, computer Buffs…like that. They are into learning about their topic and over time can become quite expert. It’s their THING! Wouldn’t it be great if every child, yes, every one, was a BUFF of someTHING?
Buffs not only love to read books about their thing. They also like to attend special events or participate in activities related to their thing. Buffs also tend to hang out with other like-minded buffs and they share books, articles, movies, anything buff-specific.
Take my friend Liza who is a science Buff. Long out of school, she loves to read about science in every possible form. She’s not a scientist in her employment. She just loves the topic and is an eager source for the rest of us.
The point is this: Children who are led to explore and find books that captivate their unique imaginations are being taught to love books and reading. These children will never stop learning because they value the satisfaction gained from discovery and, in the process, learn to love books and reading them for the value they add to that exploration. Even with a single Buff focus, lifelong learners are constantly on the lookout for wonderful stories, in-depth or unique content, and beautiful language that presents their current enthusiasm compellingly.
Since voluntarily reading favorite genres and topics always results in selecting more advanced material, helping every child find that fabulous topic that gets them stirred up—that topic about which they become Buff—is the engine that will lead to their personal GOLD.