Much of this information is taken from the Fall 2011 Heinemann Journal (Learning to Read and Loving to Read, Debbie Miller, pg 16-19). In Making Learning Whole, David Perkins quotes a statement from the psychologist Jerome Bruner, who wrote in 1973, “ We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” I believe in intellectually honest teaching. Teachers strive to create their classrooms and environments to model intellectually honest kinds of things—things that are authentic, worthy of their time and effort, and mirror, in some form, what we do in the real world. Creating the groundwork for learning to read is one of the most important things that teachers can do. Parents must be active in this role also. If students see reading as a tedious and laborious task then they will actively search for other things to take their time. The digital age provides instant gratification. We, parents and teachers, must work together to provide an engaging reading environment for readers. The joy of reading can still be taught and maintained, but we must work together to make it important! Our students will work if they see purpose in it. Reading for purpose is a skill that everyone needs to have. Whether we are reading the newspaper, magazines, articles, instructions, recipes, stories, novels, autobiographies, directions, biographies, historical information, or letters from others, we all need to have a purpose for reading. There is something to be learned in everything we read. This is the biggest criticism I hear from students when it comes to reading in school, “It is boring!!” This refers completely to the readings that teachers assign or state tests mandate. Unfortunately, even the new and improved STAAR will come packed with reading selections that our students deem as “boring.” So how do we combat the boredom? We must teach students to find personal connections in everything they read. One of the most important strategies learned in school for me was learning to write application papers for “boring” articles dealing about school improvement. It is easy for us all to answer the question “How does this apply to me?’ with a “I don’t see any connection,” or “this doesn’t apply at all.” Those comments apply not only to students but adults as well. The quickest response to those answers would be “why doesn’t this apply to our situation?” Now we have a compare and contrast opportunity!! Being able to take any situation and apply it to our world requires thought. Reading requires thought. There are many advantages to the digital age when it comes to pursuing active discussions about certain stories and books. We don’t have to convene in groups anymore to discuss books or stories, but the first step is having a purpose for reading. Below is an example of an anchor chart from Debbie Miller highlighting how to be an active reader: How Do Active Readers Read a Book? Before reading, active readers: READ —-(or find out) the title and authorTHINK—-”What am I noticing about what’s on the cover and the back?” ASK—— “What do I already know about: this kind of book? this story? this topic? this author? PEEK and PREDICT:—- “What might this story be about?”“What might I learn?”Parents, these might be some questions to help lead the active reading moments in your home. Remember also that the entire district will be taking benchmark assessments before Christmas.