“A teacher ignites the fire that fuels a student’s thirst for knowledge, curiosity, and wisdom.”
Teachers are one of the most influential people in children’s lives. They guide, educate, and inspire students inside and outside of the classroom. Teachers also encourage students to read every day.
Each summer, BookPal promotes literacy by promoting discussion, giving away books and providing free resources for teachers. We kicked off our Summer of Literacy this year by asking teachers to describe how they’ve seen books impact the lives of their students. Here are some of the most heartwarming and powerful comments we received:
1. “As a junior high English teacher whose own life was radically changed by literature, nothing gives me more pleasure and joy than introducing young people to the new imaginative horizons and possibilities that reading allows. Nothing builds character, compassion, understanding and the philosophical courage to tackle life with the foreknowledge and foretaste of death for all in the same way a great novel can. I do all I can to communicate my passion for literature, my belief in its transformative power, to my students, but high interest reading books certainly help light the fire!” — Gareth Payne
2. “Books can be the vehicle to teach everything, and are just so much fun to read!” — Laura Handyside
3. “I’ve seen books transform the way my students look at reading and math or science. Usually, they want to think that they’re not reading when we’re working on science and math, but then come to love the books that we read about them.” — Cindy Reyes
4. “Books have made such a huge impact on my students. I have started having them read at the beginning of every class period instead of as homework and they have really started to develop a love of reading. The most powerful impact I have seen is when students start to recommend books to each other! They are doing all the encouraging and it is wonderful!” — Katie N.
5. “I’ve had students who were hesitant to even go in our classroom library because they dreaded reading but when they discovered the variety of books, graphic novels, magazines, and non-fiction available they were avid readers by the end of the year. One student, a scientist by nature, decided he wanted to explore more about volcanoes. He brought in, on his own, a volcano project. There are so many instances in which students found their passion through books.” — Nancy Frick
6. “Kids who say they hate to read that find that one special book and then they are hooked. It’s priceless.”— Roy
7. “Books make an impact every day in ways we might not even realize. I love that moment when a student seeks out a book that I have already read aloud. :)” — Sarah White
8. “I’m a kindergarten teacher and reading picture books to my class is a daily event. It is the foundation of literacy development. There are so many lessons learned everyday from books whether it is about reading comprehension, vocabulary development, or social issues such as bullying.” — Alisa P.
9. “Talking about books opens the eyes of my students to new thoughts and opinions, and also helps them grow in their relationships to others as they listen to other students ideas and opinions. I often use picture books with my 5th and 6th grade students to teach social stories that help them learn how to critically think of how their voice impacts others inside and outside of their world and community.” — Lynn Burns
10. “I’ve seen students who never thought they would finish a book read over 30 books in a school year because they discovered graphic novels. Other students get through a rough time because they find a book that has a similar situation and they relate to the characters…like ‘One for the Murphys’ or ‘The Bully Book.’ Kids love to write about what they have read and outgoing kids will sit and talk with quiet ones who have read the same books. I love watching my students recommend books for each other and me!” — Wendy Chaulk
11. “Picture books have opened worlds of wonder to beginning readers and struggling readers. From the pictures, I’ve seen these students decipher the main idea of the page content without having to read the actual unknown words. This encourages creativity in storytelling and encourages reluctant readers to continue to attempt to decode unknown words to match the story told with the pictures. Picture books are essential resources in the younger elementary grades and I rely on them regularly in lesson planning.” — Annie Sample
12. “A classroom can never have too many books. One book can have a different meaning for each student in my classroom. They can mean an escape, a cheer-me-up, a bravery booster, a good laugh, and so many more!” — Jessica Dockins
13. “There is nothing better than seeing the look on my students faces when they see new books in the classroom. Students soon find their favorites and share with their friends. Thank you for the opportunity to further enforce the love of reading.” — Lori W.
14. “Our students beg for time to read independently each and every day! It is so heartwarming to see their love grow as they devour book after book, share their favorite books with a friend, and recommend books to each other. You can just see the excitement in their eyes as they are reading!” — Rhonda Pena
15. “There is no better way to open and expand a child’s imagination than turning through the pages of our favorite books.” —Jeremey
16. “Picture books are a great way to introduce lessons and teach lessons to every grade level. Pictures can serve as ideas, provocations and examples. My students are all EAL learners and some of them just love the books with no words to make up their own stories first in their own language and then with assistance they learn to orally tell their story to others in English.” — Stephanie Nesbitt
17. “Books leave the records of our history as well as teaching us about the roles of others in society. Books are so important that the historic museum non profit that I run has developed a library open to the students and researchers on the history of our ‘place’ since the 1600s. Books are so important that my 16 year old granddaughter founded a charity called Reading Around the World and spent the past two summers with her friends in Africa literally building libraries (remodelling, painting and stocking shelves with books) and the winters shipping containers of books to schools in Tanzania where grade school students are learning English as well as Swahili in their classrooms thanks to these libraries. Books speak to why we are a Civilization.” — P. Nettleship
18. “When a student has choice in what he reads — and then he ENJOYS it — the door is opened to a world of learning, and a lifelong reader and learner is born!” — K. Steve
19. “After teaching many seventh grade students from all reading levels this past school year, largely in the inclusion setting, I have found that books open doors for all readers of all walks of life. When we read ‘Freak the Mighty’ out loud in the inclusion classes, students who told me through their words (and actions) they hated reading suddenly came alive and developed interest in the story as voices were given to characters and movements and behaviors were acted out in front of them. One of them told me ‘Wow, this is like a movie!’ after we finished reading for the period. As more and more kids see reading as a chore, moments like this matter. Picture books, just like reading a story aloud, make it all come alive and make sense to many different readers. Showing them that reading can be more than interesting, but thought-provoking, and most of all, fun, is what keeps my excitement in the classroom. As a first year teacher, these books would do wonders for my students!” — Sarah C.
20. “Books can help children find their interests, and bring a voice to those who cannot speak.” —Joanne M.
21. “As a K-8 librarian, it’s amazing when you can’t keep enough books on the shelves. Always trying to engage students with new genres they wouldn’t even thought of reading. Once they are introduced, they are hooked and it’s like kids in a candy store. That’s when I know the love for reading has introduced itself.” — Fritz
22. “I’ve witnessed books helping my students get through a rough time in their lives. I have seen three students over the last couple years going through deaths in the family and divorce. They would read books and connect with the characters. It turned them into readers. I love that!” — Ashley Slone
23. “One of my favorite ways that books impact my students is when I find a just-right read aloud and students who think they hate books/reading start out sitting at the back of the room when I start reading… Then inch closer each day… And eventually join into passionate conversations about the book (or about real-life connections to the book) with me and/or fellow students.” — Amy
24. “I love the stories and questions that come from reading! Students find ways to connect the characters to their own lives and love to tell their classmates and teachers about these connections. I also love when students find a word or topic we’ve talked about in another area (science, math, social studies, etc.) in the book they’re reading. They’re eager to run up and show me what they’ve found.” — Kayleigh
25. “I have seen kids relate to a character in a book and feel that they are not alone. I love watching kids find a book that they can’t put down. I love to collect books to help my kids find the right one.” — Shannon
To see all of the comments left by teachers, visit our blog post, “Introducing BookPal’s 2015 Summer of Literacy Program!”
Help your kids learn more from the books they read with our “Reading Journal Starter Kit!” This free kit includes everything you need to encourage reading comprehension: downloadable reading logs, activity sheets, and more.