Students who are avid readers do better in school-on this fact everyone seems to agree. In an age where television, video games, and the Internet compete for children's leisure hours, reading may be neglected as a recreational pastime. This pathfinder was created to aid pre-service teachers in Lummi, Washington find out more about teaching elementary Language Arts students to read for pleasure. As one writer put it, "Reading is not a duty and consequently has no business to be made disagreeable." When so many children face challenges in just acquiring basic literacy, the teaching of recreational reading may seem a frivolous pursuit; but for those who learn the love of reading, the benefits last throughout their lives. Life-long readers become life-long learners.
On such a broad topic search engines yield a daunting amount of information. Using the Hotbot search engine, I searched for the exact phrase "reading for pleasure" and then "recreational reading" using the "all the words" setting. The sources in the bibliography of this pathfinder were the result of sifting through 800 total search results. Since there was so much material available, I decided to limit the scope of the research. I chose only sites that were of interest to teachers, eliminating those that were aimed primarily at parents, students, and librarians. I also omitted sources on early childhood reading education and general literacy education since they did not pertain to reading for enjoyment in the elementary grades. Commercial sites and pay sites were also omitted.
Online databases also offer a wealth of material on reading education. ERIC was one source used for this project; the standardized phrase for searching the topic is "reacreational reading". The online catalog of the University of Texas library system helped me find books that informed the organization of my writing in this pathfinder. Wishing to find whether the same books were available in a library close to the Northwest Indian College, I looked at the online public access catalog for Western Washington University's libraries. The Western Libraries interface made it easy to find the Library of Congress subject heading "Books and Reading Children" that was most relevant and I included the results of that search in my bibliography. Finally, I consulted the Encyclopedia Britannica Online, where a search for "reading aesthetics" improved my understanding of the aesthetics of literature.