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Cultivating Young Readers

Seven Principles for Teaching All Children to Read in a Global Society

Young readers

Reading is like air.

—Walter Dean Myers, award-winning children’s author

In today’s globalized and connected world, reading is much more than recognizing and understanding words on a page or a screen. Reading is a complex activity that is fundamental to full participation in a democratic society and essential for lifelong opportunity and success. Like air, we need reading. We use it all the time.

Readers in today’s elementary classrooms need policies and practices that address the complexities of reading and that acknowledge the multicultural and global contexts in which literacy instruction takes place. We as educators, researchers, and policymakers can use these seven evidence-based principles to help K-5 learners be passionate, critical, and successful readers:

  1. Teach with a comprehensive approach to reading and writing.
  2. Foster opportunities for readers to learn from texts.
  3. Build on children’s home, community, and cultural experiences and knowledge.
  4. Use assessment judiciously and strategically to inform instruction.
  5. Create opportunities for language development.
  6. Design a whole-child approach to literacy across environments.
  7. Develop and support excellent teachers.