“Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.” – Barack Obama

Literacy is one of the cornerstones of education. Whether students are navigating a science investigation or learning important historical events, reading will play a fundamental part in the lesson. Even social-emotional learning is somewhat dependent on literacy since communication can take many forms. As a result, it’s vital for all students to have a strong grasp on grammar, vocabulary, and sentence structure. And what’s the best way to foster literacy? Reading!

Books have the power to awaken a student’s imagination. By pairing them with the right story, teachers can inspire confidence, encourage perseverance, and illuminate their understanding. Not to mention, the student will be strengthening their reading skills in the process! Still, educators know that every student is different, and finding the right book for the right reader can be difficult. So, to make your literary hunt a little less strenuous, here are a few suggestions for your classroom library:

  • Women in STEM: Did you know that women are drastically underrepresented in STEM fields, making up only 28% of the STEM population? Teachers can help bridge this gap by providing their students with books on the incredible women who changed our understanding of science. Young girls should read about Grace Hopper: the Queen of Computing, Eugenie Clark: the Shark Lady, or Katherine Johnson: the mathematician who sent us to space! Check out these other exciting books about women in STEM.
  • Powerful Poetry: Poetry can speak to our soul, and its lyrical wordplay is perfect for sharpening student vocabulary. If students are looking for something fun, they can always pick up a copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein or No Such Things by Bill Peet. If they’re looking for something a little more advanced, introduce them to the classic works of Walt Whitman or Maya Angelou. You could even challenge them to write some poetry of their own.
  • Graphic Novels: I’ve written about the importance of keeping comics in the classroom more than once. Comics and graphic novels have been shown to increase interest in reading, improve student vocabulary, and provide positive representation for readers. They can also lead students through difficult issues by helping them understand social-emotional themes. Best of all, they’re really fun to read!
  • Classic Novels: There’s a reason why the classic novels are, well, classic! Many of these literary works represent important developments in the field of writing while offering touchstones to different moments in history. While some may be too advanced for younger students, those in upper grades shouldn’t miss the chance to enjoy classic works like East of Eden, Pride and Prejudice, and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Don’t be afraid to challenge your students with a little advanced reading. These rich stories are worth the effort.

There are so many opportunities to be found in good reading, and we shouldn’t miss this moment to encourage student literacy. So, if your classroom bookcase is looking a little bare, take some time to stock it with exciting books that your students will love. You could even share your favorite childhood stories as well. After all, there’s no better way to foster student literacy than with a good book.

For more free educational resources, check out these free tools and strategies from Blue Apple!

*Image courtesy of Ginny via Wikimedia Commons.