What is a reading culture?


“A culture, broadly speaking, is an integrated pattern of behavior, practices, beliefs, and knowledge. These constitute the operating rules by which people organize themselves.” (*Behrman, 2004)

According to Wikipedia, the definition is: "The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization, or group". (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture)

A school-wide reading culture is "...a climate in which all members of the school [are] expected and encouraged to read..." (*Daniels & Steres, 2011)

Why is a reading culture important?

"People need to be literate in order to be involved in, and contribute to society" - Bobbi L. Newman, Librarian by Day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sk4Cw8vrDuM

What does a reading culture look like?

A School-Wide Reading Culture
"Sometimes when you walk into a school you can tell something about its character - proud of its sporting triumphs with display cases of trophies, an emphasis on art with murals and mosaics, an eco-school, a religious school, one with a long tradition and history, or celebrations of taha Maori or ethnic diversity. So, what would it look like to walk through a school with a "reading culture"?"
This article from the National Library of New Zealand gives suggestions for hallways, classrooms, principal's office, etc. Check it out at:

What Would a Vibrant Reading Culture in Canada Look Like?
This article was written by Patsy Aldana for the TD National Reading Summit. In it Aldana states, "The basis of a reading culture is an understanding and appreciation of reading... In order to create a reading culture in Canada, attitudinal change has to take place. As a culture we need to embrace the place of reading in our personal lives and make it a priority in civil society. Reading is essential to the well being and happiness of an individual, and to that person’s capacity to act as a citizen in a democracy, hence a culture in which reading is promoted for all citizens is essential to the general good of our society."
The elements of a plan to create a vibrant reading culture in Canada include a few that focus specifically on schools:
  • Schools with properly staffed school libraries where free reading is encouraged and promoted, testing is substantially diminished, and teachers are trained in children’s literature.
  • Properly staffed school libraries, where students learn to use non-fiction materials and to be critical of what they read, and learn about the public library system.
Read the whole article at: http://nationalreadingcampaign.ca/aldanaarticle/

Creating a Reading Culture with Pre-Service Teachers
This March 5, 2012 blog post is about the need for novice teachers to come into teaching already understanding the importance of, and how to create a reading culture. Written by a doctoral student at Michigan State University
"Almost all of the students in my course are pre-service teachers. I have come to believe that if we want novice teachers to enter the field with a disposition to create a reading culture in their classroom, they need to experience being part of a reading culture themselves."


Four Steps to Creating a School-Wide Reading Culture
This article by Donalyn Miller includes information on how to create school-wide "reading doors" and locker tags.

Building a Culture of Literacy at the Secondary School Level
Blog by a high school English teacher. This post gives practical suggestions like surrounding students with books:
"You can never, ever, ever have too many books. And surrounding students with books will show them that you value books and literacy. Eventually, they will wander over to the shelves and pick up a few books. They will page through them. They will start to read. And they will find a book they enjoy."

Creating a Reading Culture for Struggling Readers
by Kyle Redford (2011) for The Yale Centre for Dyslexia and Creativity. A large part of a successful reading culture assumes that students ENJOY reading. This article explores ways to help struggling readers be a successful part of a reading culture.
"If my hunch was correct, it was likely that he rarely got to the end of many stories...I wouldn't love reading either if I was always reading books that I could never finish".

The Rights of a Reader




Behrman, C. (2004). The "culture of reading" in a public school.

Daniels, E. & Steres, M. (2011). Examining the effects of a school-wide reading culture on the engagement of middle school students.
RMLE Online. Retrieve Feb. 15, 2012 from:
http://proquest.umi.com.login.ezproxy.library.ualberta.ca/pqdweb?index=4&sid=3&srchmode=1&vinst=PROD&fmt=6&startpage=- 1&clientid=12301&vname=PQD&RQT=309&did=2529115751&scaling=FULL&ts=1329352038&vtype=PQD&rqt=309&TS=1329352073&clientId=12301