How to Show Students and Families What Matters in Our Literacy Classrooms


Last week, the school district where my children learn and grow started posting on social media about their newest outdoor learning space. This might be the most beautiful garden I’ve ever laid my eyes on and I couldn’t wait to share it with you. This is literally a garden that grows readers.

Check it out hereYou just have to see it for yourself!

As I scrolled through picture after picture of students snuggled in hammocks reading books, smiles plastered across their faces, this Hammock Garden really got me thinking. These prideful posts sent a strong message to our community. They told us that reading is valued in our district. As a parent and educator, I am grateful.

The more I thought about this little garden the more I thought about the students who get to spend time in such a space. What does this garden say to them?

This beautiful garden shows them that reading is enjoyable—that getting cozy and lost in a story is worth your time. This garden shows these students that reading MATTERS.

I’m not sharing about this garden to make you run out and build a hammock garden at your school. Although, I wish you could.

Instead, I’m sharing this garden with you because it really got me thinking, we don’t have to have a hammock garden to show our students that reading is valued.

If your halls and walls could talk in your school and your classroom, what would they tell your community and your students about what you value?

5 Easy Ways to Show That You Value Reading

As you ponder that question, let me share some easy ways you can show your students that reading matters…

  1. Read aloud to your students
  2. Make independent reading a daily priority for your students.
  3. Carve out time to live your own readerly life and share your reading life with your students.
  4. Take a look at your classroom library. Edit and revise those shelves to draw your students to your books. Not enough books in your classroom? Let’s prioritize getting more.
  5. How about ditching the morning worksheets and beginning your day or class period with kids enjoying books right from the start?

This list is just a starting point. We love hearing from you! Email us or add your comments below to share the ways you are showing your students that reading matters.

Looking for a professional text to dig deeper? One of my favorites is Game Changer: Book Access For All Kids by Donalyn Miller & Colby Sharp. This book is full of ways we can take small steps in our schools that will send big messages about reading to our staff, students, and families.

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