Friday, April 17, 2015

Choice in Reading

Others at my school grapple with teaching reading just as I do. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking and trying to plan ways to get my students excited about reading and turn them into life long readers.

Donalyn Miller says, “Students will read if we give them the books, the time, and the enthusiastic encouragement to do so. If we make them wait for the one unit a year in which they are allowed to choose their own books and become readers, they may never read at all. To keep our students reading, we have to let them." ~ pg. 177”
Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child

Others say carefully selected texts read in a "close reading" style is important.

What's a teacher to do? I tend to think a balanance of each is key.

My students who struggle seem to do better with guided, close reading experiences.
They are also the ones who don't always choose to read on their own.
Is that because I'm not giving them choice? Or is that because they still need to strengthen their skills so they can enjoy independent reading well?

This is one of my more dedicated readers. Notice the book in his desk? We were reading a story all together from our anthology. He wasn't that interested in it, (Frankly, nor was I.) I tried to snap a pic of him reading it inside his desk - but he was pretty aware I was watching him. Just that says a lot! :)


He had a book hidden in his desk that he was trying to read while we read a class story.


As soon as he was finished the computer work we did about the story he was quick to pull out his book and get to reading something he wanted to read.
My dilemma...

How much choice to give?
Are group reads valuable?
How do I balance it?

1 comment:

  1. Decisions, decisions...the dilemma of a dedicated teacher. You pose some thoughtful questions and even offer a potential in your notion of balance. Deciding to select choice over a close read is done with several key components in mind. First what is it the students must be able to know and do? How will I know they have achieved this understanding I am aiming for? What is the current skill level and what will they need to get to this place of understanding? What strategies/resources/learning opportunities will best help students achieve maximum success? Working through these components of lesson design allows for students to be at the forefront. It keeps everything clear and teachers can feel confident in their approach. Balance is not easy to achieve, but it gives us the best chance to reach all kids and hopefully find opportunities to ignite their passion to read on top of their desk.