Getting Students to Read More

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Flickr: Yoshiyasu Nishikawa

What surprised me?

“If students are not readers, they tend to struggle in all academic subjects- not just English.” –Aim Higher: A Case for Choice Reading and a Whole Lot More in AP English

Students who lose the love to read, can lose the ambition to be successful in other areas. Reading, and allowing choice-independent reading, is crucial to keeping a love of reading for all students. When a student reads, they can improve their vocabulary, scores on standardized tests, and improve in all academic areas. Most AP English classes struggle to give students free-choice in their reading selections.

What did I learn or find myself thinking about the most?

I found myself wondering what would my classroom look like without Accelerated Reading (AR)? After reading Curing the Reading GERM by Jim Bailey, I began to envision it. I would love to incorporate reading conferences and have my students read because they WANT to, not just to earn points.

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Flickr:arrathoonlaa@att.net

How do these articles relate to my own experiences as a teacher?

I have many students who are reading just to “earn” points from AR. I don’t want my students working for points, I want them reading for pleasure and enjoyment. I want them naturally learning as they read and discuss their books.

To help students become naturally interested in learning, there are many things a teacher can do. Some that I would like to include in my classroom are:

  • Helping students find books that fit their reading level
  • Provide a large variety of books that reach every reading level in my room
  • Give students personal choices when selecting books
  • Clearly explain guidelines
  • Help students monitor their own reading
  • Have book conferences, with peers and teachers
  • Provide feedback throughout reading process
  • Enhance excitement with technology
  • Set goals and expectations

What did I find most interesting?

I think that Phyllis S. Hunter stated it best in “Raising Students Who Want to Read,” when she said, “No reading program is complete if it doesn’t include motivation.” We want students to read because THEY want to read, not because they are earning points, deadlines, or rewards. We want students to enjoy reading and to see it as a valuable skill to appreciate their entire lives.

9 thoughts on “Getting Students to Read More

  1. I loved the GERM article so much! I loved that he recognized a breakdown in the way we teach writing, and then he worked to fix that. We can do anything if we set our minds to it. 🙂

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  2. I greatly enjoyed your post! From my school days, I remember how teachers throughout elementary and middle school were so glad that so many of their students were voracious readers, but then we reached high school and just stopped reading unless we had to. All of the adults were so confused, but we all knew why. There was no reason to spend hours reading if there were no rewards to be had (e.g. AR points and prizes). That time could be spent doing other stuff such as the extracurriculars that we needed to beef up our college applications and the intense amounts of homework that we were being given because, apparently, more was less and not the other way around. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. I really like your list of ways to get students reading. It’s great to have those ideas before you start teaching so you aren’t scrambling to come up with ways to get students reading.

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  4. So glad you’re envisioning a classroom without AR. It is truly unnecessary–and often gets in the way of students’ motivation to read. Have you read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer? Great professional development title for figuring out how to do an independent reading program at the elementary level.

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