Making Readers

Featured Image by Hazel Marie

“Aim Higher: A Case for Choice Reading,” by Amy Rasmussen had many important points for teachers. Students learn how to read and write by reading and writing. Student will be more interested in reading if they are able to choose books that interest them. It is easy to know whether students are reading books if you have discussions about the book with them; do not lecture, but talk to the students about the books. Students will be more inclined to read more difficult books if they can build up their confidence with reading by choosing books they want to read. Students will work up to reading harder books as they build their reading ability. Teachers have to encourage students to become lovers of books, not discourage them by forcing books the students do not like into class.

I disagree with Jim Bailey in “Curing the Reading Germ” about Accelerated Reading. I think the AR program in my school encouraged me to read more books. I wanted to go on the trips that came with meeting my goal! We took short tests that determined our reading ability, so that we could stick to books around the reading level. The teachers and librarians always encouraged us to read whatever we wanted at whatever reading level. I read a lot at first because I wanted to win the field trip that came with meeting my AR goal, but I kept reading because I liked to read. We got easy goals, so I would set higher goals for myself. I can understand why AR could cause students to dislike reading. Students only get to read certain books, and then they do not keep reading after reaching the goal. It is something that is required, which automatically makes students adverse to it. I liked the AR program; however, I also remember a lot of people cheating their way through the tests. Group discussions, reading conferences, or book trailers are better ways to know that students are reading and understanding the books.

I loved reading “Raising Students Who Want to Read” by Hunter. I agree that we need to move from giving students extrinsic motivation to giving students intrinsic motivation for reading. Teachers need to encourage students to read because they enjoy reading, not so that they can go on a field trip. Allowing students to choose the books that they read can build a love of reading and intrinsic motivation for reading. Teachers must give students a wide variety of books to read so that they can find something that interests them. Teachers must understand students interests and reading ability. Students must be encouraged to discuss the books they are reading. Students hardly ever get a sense of autonomy in the school setting. They have to ask to go to the bathroom; they are told when to eat. They cannot talk without asking. Allowing the students to choose what they read will empower them because it gives them a little control in their education.

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5 thoughts on “Making Readers

  1. The AR program has pros and cons, definitely. I like it for younger kids because it gives them some incentive to read and understand books. For my daughter (who is an avid reader), it has pushed her and she enjoys challenging herself. She’s able to tell her teacher the goal she’d like and she puts her goal above where most of her teachers would put her, but she makes it every quarter. She loves to read now and it started by surrounding her with books throughout her youth. In addition, some of our fun “shopping” trips always include a bookstore stop. There are lots of ways to encourage students to read, it just takes finding the right mix.

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  2. I have made the library in fact all the libraries in my area especially the
    st.Paul library 4 floors one just for children my granddaughters and mine our greatest adventure. Ella 4 and Bailey 6 are already avid readers!

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  3. “Students learn how to read and write by reading and writing. ” Sometimes it is the most obvious things that are the most profound. This statement sums up the whole semester.
    I found it interesting that you had such a different AR experience than some others in our class. It just goes to show that we have to look at every student as an individual and not a number. You never know what will work.

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  4. I also find it interesting that you had such a different AR reading experience. We always discuss the program at length in my Children’s Lit class, and almost all the experiences are quite negative–from strong and struggling readers alike. I wonder why it worked so well for you?

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    1. I think it worked well for me because I already liked to read. I never stopped reading after I made my AR goal. As the years went along, I started making my own goals because the school’s goal was not high enough.

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