For the Love of Books

Look, everyone. We need to talk.

We’re in an epidemic of sorts. No, a pandemic, because I’m positive this problem isn’t isolated to America alone. As students get older, they read less and less. The numbers are there; students are turning more to SparkNotes and less to their own willpower when it comes to reading, especially assigned reading. And can we really blame them? The required text, though it may hold needed information, isn’t reaching students the way it should. Therefore, they’re kind of rendering themselves ineffective, right? There has to be a better way, not only to get our students to read, but to ENJOY what they’re reading. Yearn for it. Grow from it.

Enter Penny Kittle, literary education and literary coach extraordinaire.

Ladies and gentlemen, this woman knows what she’s talking about, and you all better turn on those listening ears to hear what she has to say. I couldn’t get enough of Book Love; I could go on and praise this goddess of education for knowing her craft, but I’ll get down to it. In essence, I can sum it up to two words: access and independence. Not only do we need to have a library of our own in our classrooms (students don’t go to the library nearly as much as teachers would like to believe), but we also need to give them independence in choosing what they want to read while fulfilling the curricular duty (which yes, we most definitely can do). Holding regular book talks, exposing and prompting students to choose books that diversify their reading styles, and making reading less of a chore by providing in-class time is key in getting our students on the reading train again. Not only that, but show students that you value their input and start with books they have recommended to get them turned on to required reading. Nobody’s going to deeply and profoundly love required reading, but they will engage much, much more.

Seriously my fellow literature and education nerds, this. lady. is. boss. Her advocacy for lifelong readers is beautiful, and I have definitely been impressed and moved by her tenacious passion for reading. Her Book Love Foundation is proof of this; the main goal of the Foundation is to provide libraries for classrooms that may not have enough funding or support to gain libraries themselves. How cool is that?!

I’ll leave you all with this video link to Kittle divulging her secrets on how to create lifelong readers. Take heed of her words, because I don’t think anyone else is going to spell it out as clearly as her.

Well done, Penny Kittle, well done.





4 thoughts on “For the Love of Books

  1. I love that you describe this as a pandemic because I really think that it is. We seem to have developed these ideas about books, and we can’t seem to break free of that ridiculous mold. I loved Kittle. I would agree she definitely is boss. It’s nice to see an educator actually coming out and saying, “Guys this needs to stop and here’s how you can help.” Just these first two chapters have had a huge impact on me, and I can’t wait to read more.


  2. I’m lucky to have a decent selection of books in my classroom. Anytime we run out of something to do I will have my students pick a book from the shelf or go get the book they are reading for AR. My students know that I expect them to read either on their own or with me. I let them choose what they read. I want them to have a choice even if I am requiring them to read, they still have some say.


  3. This is such a passionate, well-written blog post. I enjoyed every word. I’m not teaching yet, just working toward a degree, but I have kids and know their reading habits are wildly different. Although they’re almost four years apart in age, the differences when comparing them at the same age is wild. I don’t see how we can expect kids to like or want to read something, simply because we want them to. We just have to get their nose in the book, and I like with Kittle had to say. As for in-class libraries, I get nervous thinking about that. I will have very few to bring to school when I finally do teach. I read mostly ebooks because I can whip out my phone and read anywhere without having to carry a book. However, I may need to read start buying actual books – especially in this class – so I have a little library to start with. Great post, I appreciate your thoughts, insights, and good writing. 🙂


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