The beginning of the year covers just about every emotion there is for the newest Ridge Rock Stars every year. Learning about a new school and all of the expectations that come along with it can be a really overwhelming thing. Knowing this, the last couple years, we have been exploring how to get back to some more basic enjoyments. One of the things we have begun to implement is remembering to learn to love reading. Reading for enjoyment is a life long skill that we hope to instill in all of our students. One of the ways we are trying to do that is by helping each student develop their reader identity. Reader identity involves helping students see themselves as readers, finding books for enjoyment, and sharing that excitement with someone else. Some of the ways we tackle these questions is by modeling. Finding books we love to read and sharing that excitement with kids gets them excited. We try to expose them to different genres like fairy tales, historical fiction, realistic fiction, and non-fiction to name a few. We like to share silly books so we can laugh and serious books that help us deal with our emotions, as well as learn rules, how to be a friend, and how to appreciate all diverse kinds of friends. You can find a book about just about every topic! It is important for students to see themselves as readers. We talk about how you can read a book in several different ways, like telling the story you see in pictures. So even if you can’t read all the words yet, you can still be a reader when you “read” the pictures. Lastly, we try to give them time to read for enjoyment and talk about the books they are interested in. My favorite day of each month is our READ Day. We celebrate reading by welcoming our Third Grade Buddies into our room. We spend one-on-one time with them, just reading. They read to us and, later in the year especially, we read to them. We talk about what we are reading, we appreciate the illustrations, and we share what we love about the stories. It is pretty cool to watch happen. I have included some photos from our first Read Day. I hope you can all find some time in your day sometime soon and just read for pleasure – just because you want to! Happy reading!