Harnessing the love of reading is key to helping our students recover from the academic and emotional challenges of the pandemic. “Reading is key to life, to joy—to our very existence,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten when announcing the AFT’s Reading Opens the World campaign.
This multiyear, multimillion-dollar campaign is designed to support students, educators, and families and foster an ongoing love of reading. It focuses on four areas of literacy support: professional development resources for teachers and school staff to help students read well; research-based resources for parents and caregivers; literacy-focused partnerships between families, communities, teachers, and schools; and free books for children and young people.
Teachers can learn more about teaching reading and literacy in the content areas through the Reading Opens the World webinar series hosted on Share My Lesson. These sessions give educators more tools to improve students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills and provide actionable teaching practices that can be quickly implemented in the classroom. Each hourlong, for-credit session is grounded in the science of reading.
Maximizing Reading and Vocabulary Instruction
Several sessions give a deep dive into the components of reading comprehension. Start with “A Primer on the Science of Reading” to learn how decoding skills and language comprehension lead to reading comprehension, and follow up with “Literacy in the Content Areas” to learn evidence-based recommendations for engaging students in reading throughout the day. “MAXimize Your Teaching: Active Learning Through Texts” explores strategies to engage students before, during, and after reading, and “Strategies to Maximize Vocabulary Instruction” gives best practices for increasing students’ vocabulary, which is critical for comprehension.
Improving Linguistic Equity and Inclusion
Teachers of all grade levels and subject areas can cultivate a deeper understanding of the academic, social, cultural, and emotional aspects of language and literacy. In “Crafting Linguistic Autobiographies to Build Cultural Knowledge,” educators will explore and better appreciate the richness of their own and their students’ language heritages. “Culture and Communication Matter: Affirm and Uplift Students Through a Language and Literacy Equity Audit” covers valuing students’ language strengths and the knowledge they bring to the classroom. Finally, “The Sound of Inclusion: Using Poetry to Teach Language Variation in the Elementary Grades” explores the benefits of poetry for celebrating linguistic diversity.
Meeting English Language Learners’ Needs
Three webinars focus on better meeting the complex needs of students who are becoming bilingual. “Improving Literacy of ELLs: Tips, Resources and Strategies for Individualized Instruction” provides an array of resources and is a great place to start building your knowledge of English language development. “Literacy and ELLs: Scaffolding with Visual and Linguistic Supports” reviews specific models of visual and linguistic supports to help English language learners better understand what they read. And “Literacy and ELLs: Using Academic Language Instruction to Unlock Success” explores strategies to improve students’ comprehension of academic texts.
This is just a sample of the webinar series; more sessions are planned for later this year. Visit here for the complete series. To learn more about the Reading Opens the World campaign, visit aft.org/read and join the Reading Opens the World community on Share My Lesson at sharemylesson.com/read. Questions or comments? Please reach out to us: [email protected].
Reading Opens The World
Register for all sessions here.
The American Federation of Teachers’ Share My Lesson is a free, award-winning community-based site that brings together educators, parents and caregivers, paraprofessionals and school-related personnel, specialized instructional support personnel, union and nonunion members, educational partners, an