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.
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.