Sunday, October 15, 2006

Real Reading

While I was in school there was little time devoted to reading your own book of choice. Of course we still made weekly trips to the library but we were expected to read these books on our own. I rarely checked books out that did not have pictures in them and had it not been for my parents I would have never read at home either. My mom was a strong advocate of reading each night before bed, I wasn't.

Eileen Bularzik in "Obstacles in Authentic Reading" writes about how to get students to feel that reading is a worth while activity. She gives great ideas for the classroom, that if I had seen these maybe a spark for pleasure reading would have come a lot earlier in my life. The "Real Reading" she writes about is offering a great environment for kids to read in a real one. Let the kids curl up on the floor move around and talk to other students about what they read. If they are talking they are connecting and connecting is what we want! We have to move away from testing on what is the characters name or what did the character do on Tuesday. Make the kids connect the text to their life or ask larger questions about the text. That is where they learn and that is what they remember. So many students memorize what is asked of them for test and immediatly drop the information upon completion of the test. That is what most of my schooling experience is about and that is exactly what I don't want for my students. I want them to read "How to Kill a Mockingbird" and never forget that text. (I guess my schooling experiences are shaping my teaching goals!)

I know when I step into my classroom I will want all students to love reading, tell me what book is their favorite, and what book they are reading now. Some kids may be like me when I was in school where they don't read unless they have to. My mission is to break this habit by the time they leave my classroom. I missed out so many years of not reading for pleasure, getting lost in a great book, that I don't want any other students to miss out on this. I want to create a great reading environment and creat reading time in my classroom. And as Bularzik said "there is always time for reading in the class."


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