Could “Reading” Start With “Relationships?”

This morning, I read this wonderful blog post by Tracy Sims and Cheryl Emrich. There are many things in this post that resonated with me, but it was the video they included that inspired this post of my own. 

As Tracy and Cheryl noted in their post, I know that this video seems exaggerated in order to make its point clear, but I think that the message is one that we really have to consider. 

Our Board has a goal to have “all students reading by the end of Grade 1.” We know the link between reading, communicating, and even, graduating, and having worked with many students in the past that struggle with reading, I want to see this goal met. But what I love about this video is that it gives another lens on how we might meet this goal.

  • Does it start with building relationships with students?
  • Do students have to feel safe and loved in order to take the risks involved in reading?
  • What role does oral language play?
  • Could one of our best approaches be to develop a child’s vocabulary first?
  • What about giving children multiple experiences to help develop their schema? For students that may have fewer of these experiences, how do we help level the playing field? What value might there be in doing so?
  • Does this kind of nurturing environment get students to school more often, and does this make a difference in helping them learn to read?

I’m still working through the answers to these questions, but I think that discussions around these topics matter. Yes, quality programming matters, and having more supports in place, would surely help as well. But is learning to read about more than this, and thinking about my “one word goal” for this year, is this about changing our “perspective?” Our Board’s Transforming Learning Everywhere (T.L.E.) Model explores transforming classrooms, relationships, and learning opportunities. I wonder if all three transformations will impact on the success in meeting this reading goal. What do you think?


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