Written by Ronnie Phillips
It is very odd whenever I meet an educator who doesn’t like to read or won’t take the time to read. So much of educating students well is based on the ability to read, so if people in the education field just stop reading, it will negatively impact the students they are trying to educate. Research has shown that once college students finish college, they tend to stop reading and spend most of their time on social media. It is vital that educators not fall into that same negative trend, because it will negatively impact the entire field of education and more importantly, the outcomes of students.
There are many reasons why educators should become avid readers both personally and professionally. Let’s begin by discussing why people go into education in the first place. Some want to make a difference in the lives of students, some have a basic love of learning that makes them passionate about teaching others that same love, and some were once inspired by a teacher who had a major positive impact on their own lives. Whatever their reason for going into education, reading is the foundation of their passion, their success, and indeed their interest in education overall.
If you are in the education field, you already know how important it is to get your students to read daily. It is how they prepare for the daily lessons you are teaching them. Indeed, research has demonstrated that students who read a lot both in and out of school generally perform better in school. Well, what about the teachers? Shouldn’t they also read, so they can be good role models for the pupils they are teaching? Be a good model for their students to read as well? If a teacher demonstrates a joy for reading, his or her students will become eager to read and even enjoy reading.
Further still, teachers who make reading a big part of their educational journey are on the way to their own self-improvement as well as that of their students. School leaders who make reading a key skill in their schools are positively influencing their students and also their staffs. Some schools utilize The Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Program for their students. In it, the staff drops everything and will have silent reading for a certain length of time every day. They know that DEAR can impact the entire school and its learning atmosphere and student outcomes.
As educators, we know that all reading is beneficial, but educators should spend even more time identifying books, articles, and magazines that can help them become experts in their field as well. (The education field as well as their specialty?)
Below are some of the benefits educators will gain if they become avid readers:
1. Stimulate the Mind – Constant stimulation will improve the brain and even slow the progress of mental disease.
2. Acquire Knowledge - The more you read, the more knowledge you gain and the better you are equipped for the challenges ahead.
3. Sharpen Writing Skills – The more exposure you have to well-written material, the better your writing will become.
4. Improve Critical and Analytical Skills- Being able to discuss, provide details, and use your critical thinking skills are all positive outcomes of reading regularly.
5. Improve Memory- While reading, you will remember an assortment of facts, and that skill will strengthen your memory.
6. Expand Vocabulary -The more you read, the more words you will see, gather, understand and use again either for future better reading or even for writing.
7. Boost Concentration – When reading, your full attention is focused on what you are reading, a valuable skill to have for learning and teaching others and one’s career
8. Reduce Stress – Reading can distract you and keep your mind off other difficult situations. Reading can even relax you, become a pleasurable activity.
As educators, we should never stop learning and reading. Being an avid reader should be one of the many goals that educators should practice because they want to keep up with the best skills in education, and be able work to achieve their fullest potential in their own specialty. Good teachers also want their students to reach their fullest potentials. Becoming an avid reader can help both teachers and their students become their very best.
Remember--- reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It keeps the mind fit.