Reading Is Our Business: How Libraries Can Foster Reading Comprehension

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Reading Is Our Business attempts to cultivate literacy and to encourage library media specialists to resume/assume (depending on who you are talking to) their rightful position as critical partners in the development of reading comprehension.—Sharon Grimes in the Preface

Motivating children to read is essential to building a lifelong love of reading. Many parents cannot model engagement with books and instead, teachers, school media specialists, and children's librarians must step into the breach to help children embrace a love of reading.

According to award-winning librarian-educator and author Sharon Grimes, to help students love books and reading, their skills must go beyond merely recognizing words and turning pages without comprehension. She frames the situation with an insightful overview of current research on reading and how children learn.

Reading Is Our Business then outlines a unique seven-step reading strategy. Each step is illustrated by actual classroom examples teaching students how to understand what they read and is supplemented with age-appropriate author and book lists. Strategies to enhance reading comprehension include:

  • Connecting
  • Visualizing
  • Questioning
  • Finding Answers
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring and Predicting
  • Synthesizing

Sample worksheets and websites make the process easy to use and replicate, and help break down reading comprehension into its component parts for learners for whom this doesn't come naturally.

As young people engage with books, they develop connections with their own lives and lay the foundations for logical thinking and more learning. Following these practical guidelines, librarians can continue to foster this community of readers and thinkers.

Sharon Grimes

Sharon Grimes is a media specialist at Lansdowne Elementary School in Baltimore. Author of the SLJ article, "The Search for Meaning: How You Can Boost Kids' Reading Comprehension," she has also created online research models, including a national model to integrate information, science, technology, and visual literacies. The Baltimore Sun recognized her as a Reading All-Star for her work in promoting reading and comprehension at all grade levels. She was named Baltimore County Teacher of the Year in 2004-2005 and the 2003 Educational Technology Teacher of the Year for integrating information literacy and technology.