Monday, February 20, 2012

Read Across America: Who Are You as a Reader?

Read Across America Week will be here before we know it.  This is always a challenging week for me. I want to celebrate but I don't want the celebration to be about the week. I want us to celebrate literacy every day all year.  And I want whatever we do during Read Across America Week to be authentic. I also want it to fit into our bigger goals for our school reading community.

One thing we are doing this year is having staff begin a schoolwide conversation around living your life as a reader.  We want our entire school community to begin to think about who we are as readers. One way we hope to start this conversation is by hanging posters of our lives as readers. We are hoping that by having these posters in the library, the commons area, and around the building, lots of conversations will begin.  You can't help but look at some of the posters and begin to think about similarities and differences of people as readers.

As a classroom teacher I did lots of projects like this and have always found that these really helps readers reflect on who they are as readers and how they've changed. It also naturally invites goal setting as readers.  And they start great conversations. When I listened to Donalyn Miller speak at CCIRA and share her schools "My Reading Life" door project, I thought it might be fun to try something similar on a whole school basis.  Personally, creating this poster helped me to see how my reading has changed in recent years and how many different tools I use for daily reading. For students, we hope it opens possibilities for thinking about themselves as readers.

One of the things we are hoping with this project is that the posters show all of the ways we read. We want to value lots of reading--not only book reading. We want to see the impact of technology and we want to see how our reading lives have changed. We purposefully decided on construction paper  (very large construction paper) rather than asking readers to create digital projects. We believe that the conversations students and staff will have standing around looking at these posters will change conversations around reading.

This is the invitation we gave to staff:

Read Across America
Teachers as Readers

Read Across America Week is the last week in February (February 27-March 2). We would like to use this week as an opportunity to help our school community begin to think about who we are as readers. To begin the conversation, we’d love each teacher to create a poster--to be hung in the library or commons area—showing who you are as a reader. This can be as simple or as crafty as you would like it to be.  We are hoping once we have ours up, students will begin to create their own posters and begin to think about themselves as readers.  Below are some ideas to get you started. We’d like to start hanging these up as you finish.  Please don’t focus only on “book” reading. 

Some ideas to get you started:

Where do you read?
When do you read?
What kinds of things do you like to read? (Include not only books but also websites, blog posts, magazines, scores, etc.  Anything and everything)
What kinds of things are hard for you to read?
What is on your NEXT READ STACK?
What were your favorite books from childhood?
Who do you read with?
Who do you talk to about your reading?
What are you currently reading?
What are some favorite books?
Do you reread books? Which ones and why?
Do you listen to audiobooks?
Do you have an ereader?
Do you keep track of the books you read?
Do you set goals for yourself as a reader?
Do you have a favorite author or series?
Are there certain kinds of things that you don’t enjoy reading?
How has your reading life changed?

**Be Creative—use photos, book covers, screen captures, etc. to show us who you are as a reader.

We are just getting our first posters in this week and we are hanging them up as people finish them. It is already fun to listen to the conversations and I can't wait til the kids start creating their own.


  1. I LOVE this idea! I may have to try this at my school! Thank you for the thoughtful inspiration.

  2. We are implementing on a schoolwide (9-12) mission to better focus curriculum across all subject areas on critical reading. I will be stealing this to get my colleagues going--will credit you. Inspiring, great post & project

  3. What a good idea! I imagine that some students don't think of their math or pe or ? teachers as readers, or think of all the different ways we read as reading, so showing the reader lives of all the teachers & all the ways is a terrific way to model. I hope you share some of the posters, from teachers and from students later.

  4. I love this! Am thinking of how I can implement this in my building. Thanks for the great idea.

  5. What a fabulous idea! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Love this and most important it is authentic reading!!

  7. Love this idea too! Hope you don't mind, but I'm also thinking about how I can use this to celebrate readers at my school too! I don't see many teachers sharing their reading lives with their students and this is the perfect opportunity! Thanks Franki!

  8. I borrowed your idea (with attribution to you on the bottom of the instructions) and my teachers are starting to turn in their posters. I have mine up in the library, as well. Thank you for sharing this great idea!


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