My favorite childhood memories are the weekly visits to my family's local library branch in New York City. My mom and I would go there each Friday afternoon, and she always let me decide which books we'd bring home. Walking around the children's section, I'd stand in awe of the shelves loaded with books. So many choices! Such a place of joy!
My mom was (and still is!) a very wise woman. She knew that by allowing me to choose my own books to read, I would be more motivated to finish them. After all, reading about topics that interest us – whether they are informational texts or literary works – keeps us engaged and excited about the words on the page. And readers who are actively engaged in reading are far more likely to read closely and carefully, which strengthens reading skills and improves comprehension. Mom knew that by reading books I really liked I would become not only a better reader, but a lifelong reader as well.
But helping me head down a path toward reading proficiency wasn't my mom's only goal. She also knew that books are tools that have a magical power to transform who we are. Every time I selected a work of non-fiction, I was widening and deepening my knowledge on a topic in science, or history, or the arts. Every time I took home a work of fiction, I was expanding my understanding of the human experience and what connects us all to one another. The choices I made in the library served as building blocks for my knowledge about the world – and those choices helped me discover who I was meant to be.
My work at Reading Plus allows me to remain in a place of joy about reading. As Chief Content Officer, I lead a team of exceptional writers who create engaging informational texts and literary works. My team knows that by providing an abundance of choice, all of our Reading Plus students will be able to find texts that inspire and transform them, teach them about the world, and help them discover the person each one of them is meant to be.
To celebrate the power of student choice, we're delighted to introduce the 2016 Student Readers' Choice. It's a compilation of the top choices made by Reading Plus students during the past school year, which is presented in a fun and informative infographic. I hope you enjoy the 2016 Student Readers' Choice, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and reactions.