Creating a Saskatchewan Reads School Environment
Reading needs to be alive and at the forefront in our learning environments, in our instructional practices, in the way we deliver curriculum and in how we use assessments. In , the focus was on building the learning environment of the classroom. This section extends that focus to the learning environment of the whole school.
Rituals related to reading can be observed that demonstrate the value of reading in that school. Students, teachers, support staff and the school administrators are engaged in opportunities to model and practice reading skills. Such opportunities make the importance placed on reading visible to all. Examples of such rituals include:
- the reading of morning announcements;
- buddy-reading time;
- book club meetings;
- the sharing of student writing excerpts;
- author visits; and
- uninterrupted blocks of time for literacy.
Reading rituals can also be used to engage parents and community members,
- home reading programs;
- inviting Elders, grandparents, parents and/or caregivers to come in and read with children;
- family reading nights ; and
- book swaps.
“What is a culture of literacy? Words, words, words. You know a culture of literacy when you walk into it. There are words everywhere … words are used carefully, cherished, and celebrated.”
(Davies, 2008, p. 115)
In a Saskatchewan Reads school, you are surrounded by language. Teachers, students and school administrators use positive, respectful and encouraging words to promote reading in the school. Classrooms, hallways and other school spaces are filled with the sound of:
- students and teachers reading out loud, discussing ideas and extending their learning;
- teachers talking to one another about improving student learning;
- school administrators encouraging students to talk about reading;
- school administrators reading to and with students;
- caregiver and community member volunteers reading to and with students; and
- oral stories being told by First Nations and Métis Elders, caregivers and community members.
Space and visuals in the school should also make it obvious that reading is an important focus. Bulletin boards and displays might include:
- inspirational quotes about reading;
- featured texts or authors that represent culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including Métis and First Nations cultures;
- conversation starters;
- student writing samples;
- celebrities, community leaders and staff members reading or advocating reading; and
- pictures of Métis and First Nations Elders and community members sharing oral stories or reading with students.
Spaces for reading may be created in hallways, foyers, offices and common areas, including:
- comfortable chairs and pillows;
- area rugs;
- books, magazines, ebooks, brochures, comics, etc.;
- student input in creating the areas;
- displays; and
- text recommendations.