For the Love of Reading

by Jena Pinder • Media Specialist and Susan Hearn • Elementary Assistant Principal

Ms. Pinder and Mrs. Hearn are prepared to lead the Book Character Day parade.

In today’s world of technology, reading a good book has been put on the shelf. Reading for pleasure has been largely replaced with video games, television and movies. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, “Reading is the single most important skill necessary for a happy, productive and successful life.” For hundreds of years people have spent time and energy developing reading programs to eliminate illiteracy only to replace it with aliteracy, which is, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the quality or state of being able to read but uninterested in doing so. As parents and educators, we need to focus on increasing our children’s desire to read through reading aloud with them, allowing them choices of reading material, and making it enjoyable.

Reading aloud to children is important because it stimulates imagination, language, interest, and emotional development. In elementary school children, listening skills are more advanced than reading skills; therefore, parents should read higher level books to their children which build imagination, creativity, vocabulary and comprehension. When reading aloud, parents model fluency, expression, and correct phrasing. Even when students reading skills are further developed, parents should still read aloud with their children.

Read a variety of written texts, such as, fiction and nonfiction books, poems, magazines, comic books, fairy tales, stories from other cultures, etc. Reading a book gives a child the opportunity to be transported to other times and places, experience a variety of feelings, develop empathy and see another perspective through the characters.

Reading does not just need to be done for academic reasons. This can lead to reading becoming a chore. Reading at school should not replace curling up with a parent and enjoying a great story. Carve out some time from your busy schedule to read a book with your child. Students need to spend quality time reading with their parents for fun. So, pick up a book and go on an adventure with your child.

ELCA provides many opportunities to develop and increase reading skills and abilities through Foundations and Frameworks, Accelerated Reader, weekly library visits, and read-alouds. Together we can encourage students to become lifelong, avid readers who can and want to read for pleasure. No truer words have been spoken than these words by Emilie Buchwald, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

Ms. Pinder has been at ELCA since 2002. In 1993, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Georgia. She then earned her Master’s Degree in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in English and Social Studies from Mercer University. Finally, she graduated from Valdosta State with a Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instructional Technology. Since starting at ELCA, she has taught third grade and seventh grade Language Arts. She is currently the Director of Libraries, where she serves PK3 through twelfth grade students, school staff, and parents. She and her family have attended and served at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church since 1997. Her four children have been fortunate to attend ELCA: Sydney (class of 2014), Jordan (class of 2018), Jacob (class of 2020), and Jesse (class of 2023).

Susan Hearn has been at ELCA since 1995. She taught third grade for 12 years, and served as the Math and Reading Coordinator before serving as the Curriculum Director for elementary. Currently, she serves as Elementary Assistant Principal. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Education from Georgia State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from Piedmont College and her Education Specialist degree from Valdosta State University. Prior to coming to ELCA, she taught kindergarten and third grade at another Christian School and first and third grades in Clayton County Public Schools. She and her husband Scott have been married since 1982. They have two children, Jacob and Miranda.