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Is a passion for reading just as important as knowing how to read?

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Why do you love to read? What made you transcend your first picture book to tackle chapter books and then full novels and nonfiction? When I ask myself this question, two things come to mind immediately: gathering on my parents’ bed while they read to us at night, and watching Reading Rainbow. I was just four years old when Reading Rainbow first aired on PBS, so the program was with me from the very beginning as I learned to read. In my favorite episode, host LeVar Burton took viewers behind the scenes of his other role as Geordi La Forge, navigator of the starship Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was fascinated by the hidden process of creating a TV show. When I learned that after 26 years in production, Reading Rainbow had failed back in August 2009 to secure the funding needed to continue, I was saddened (and a bit behind the curve, because I just found this out a few weeks ago). Of all the shows I enjoyed as a child, Reading Rainbow is the only one I really wish were around for my kids to watch. The article I read said that the focus for early childhood education has moved educational TV toward teaching phonics and more basic reading skills, rather than instilling a love for reading in children.

Why do you love to read? What made you transcend your first picture book to tackle chapter books and then full novels and nonfiction? When I ask myself this question, two things come to mind immediately: gathering on my parents’ bed while they read to us at night, and watching Reading Rainbow.

I was just four years old when Reading Rainbow first aired on PBS, so the program was with me from the very beginning as I learned to read. In my favorite episode, host LeVar Burton took viewers behind the scenes of his other role as Geordi La Forge, navigator of the starship Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. I was fascinated by the hidden process of creating a TV show.

When I learned that after 26 years in production, Reading Rainbow had failed back in August 2009 to secure the funding needed to continue, I was saddened (and a bit behind the curve, because I just found this out a few weeks ago). Of all the shows I enjoyed as a child, Reading Rainbow is the only one I really wish were around for my kids to watch. The article I read said that the focus for early childhood education has moved educational TV toward teaching phonics and more basic reading skills, rather than instilling a love for reading in children.

Fair enough. That’s part of what we do here at Imagine Learning. But I’m not alone in believing that loving to read is just as important as knowing how to read, am I? Clearly, someone who can read a road sign can go many more places than someone who can’t, but if a student never develops a sincere enjoyment of reading, how often will they do it? Could this be a form of self-imposed illiteracy? After all, there are so many more interesting things to read than signs on the freeway.

Luckily for the students using Imagine Language & Literacy, we make sure every activity is fun and engaging. And if learning to read is fun, it's more likely that it will become an enjoyable pursuit throughout students' lives. But you don’t have to take my word for it (I had to work that in somewhere!)--check out some feedback from educators and students.

 

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