Biblical Worldview of Reading


Introduction to Reading Crisis

When it comes to understanding the biblical worldview of reading, you must first understand the crisis we have in this country in reading. Reading is foundational to all knowledge and progress in our personal lives. Search “Reading Literacy in America” and you will find a lot of unfathomable facts. The statistics are alarming. Based on 2015 statistics, 2 out of 3 students who can’t read past fourth grade end up on welfare or in jail. One out of four children grow up without knowing how to read. I can’t even keep listing these stats. It’s heartbreaking. The good news is that Christian teachers in public schools can make a difference by using biblical principles in the way they plan reading lessons.

Building a Relationship with the Character

No matter what the state standards or school policies are, we must insist on spending the necessary time to ensure our students learn to read fluently. We can help. We can make it fun and engaging. The main goal in reading is to help students build an emotional relationship type connection with those they read about. 

Let me expound on this. There’s nothing like reading a book that you love and enjoy. Kids love when a caring adult reads aloud to them, even in fifth grade! I do it every year and those are the times when my students are all engaged and captivated by the elements of the story. Kids can sense our love for the story and can’t help but to join in. I learned the importance of this when I read the book “Educating Esme” by Esme Raji Codell. That’s the kind of teacher I wanted to be. I wanted my students to join me in my excitement of the story. I want it to move their heart and their mind.

When I read aloud, I stop periodically to relate to the character and feel what they feel and experience what they experience. Students in turn start to build a relationship with that person. We are cultivating in them an experience with the character. Their emotions are heightened and hearts are drawn into their lives. They become friends because they’ve spent a long time with them. It’s so fun!!

Practicality of Integrating Biblical Principles in Reading

Now let’s get practical here! How does it work? How do you actually help a student learn to read fluently? One part of the answer is really easy. Have them read ALOUD every day for at least 15 minutes and NOT BY THEMSELVES. Just like they love when you read aloud to them, they also love when you listen to them read aloud. It boosts their confidence and helps correct their fluency errors right on the spot. The second part of how students learn to read is teaching them individual sounds of words. When a child comes across a word they can’t pronounce, they won’t be able to read it unless they know the sounds of all the phonograms to be able to read any word. Teach those sounds. Practice them individually, practice them orally and in writing, practice them in a group, and practice them when eating soup. Practice them here, practice them there, practice them everywhere, Sam I Am!!!

…AND unless you have experienced the book “Green Eggs and Ham,” you won’t have the knowledge you need to understand my point of view. Either way, if you teach reading as if our life depends on it, you’’II be preparing your students to progress and succeed in life.