Education spotlight: Tonya Chronister

Tonya Chronister

Tell us about your educational highlight, honor or accomplishment. What is it and how did you do it?

My educational highlight has been fostering a love for reading in my students. I spoke with a parent at the beginning of the year that told me her son did not like to read so we may have a rough year. That set a goal for me, I had to find ways to make sure my students end up loving to read by the end of the year. I also wanted to make sure they never see reading as a form of work or punishment in my classroom. One specific way that I have focused on fostering a love for reading is by giving my students the freedom to choose what they want to read. I believe that if they are reading about something that interests them, they are going to find it far more enjoyable. When it comes to our weekly story, we find real life connections to the story and often look things up online to help the students connect on a personal level so that it is more enjoyable for them to read. Over Christmas break, I received a text message from the parent, mentioned above, that included a picture of her son laying on the couch reading a book that he had picked from the public library. What once was a daunting task for this student has now become a hobby; for me, that is a huge success.

Why is this accomplishment important for you?

It is important to me because I did not have a teacher that made reading enjoyable for me. I always saw reading as a task in school and that carried over into my adult life. I want better for my students. I want them to be able to enjoy books just as much, if not more, than they enjoy electronics.

How much did you have to work to accomplish this goal or honor?

I work at fostering a love for reading every single day. We are constantly reading different forms of text, some less interesting than others, so I have to come up with new ways to make each text fun and exciting for the students so that they can enjoy reading it. We also have Flashlight Friday reading time. The students are able to sit wherever they choose in the room and with only the light from their flashlight, they read their book. It’s amazing that by adding a little bit of fun to the reading process, students are so much more eager to read and will actually ask for the time to read as opposed to complaining that they need to read for fifteen to twenty minutes.

What plans do you have for the future?

I plan on going back to school for a Master’s Degree in Education Administration.

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