Thursday, May 30, 2013

When you give students choice...

As I read through my students' end of the year reading reflections, as I always, I was excited and my heart was full by their responses. It's amazing what growth you find in your students when you give them choice in what they read.

My students and I are celebrating our reading for this year
Yesterday I took pictures of my students holding up a sign with the number of books they completed during the school year.  It was so heartwarming to see their proud smiles, relishing in their accomplishments.

Rather than writing a manifesto on why setting aside time in class to give students choice in what they read is important (which I have done many times before), I thought I'd let you hear directly from my students...

Lauren K:
My reading preferences changed this year because I used to not know what kind of books I liked . Now I know my favorite types of books are historical fiction.

Elizabeth Z:
My reading life poster looking rather worn out
My goals at the beginning of the year were to like reading and achieve more in the year. I now love reading and I achieved more this year than any year ever.

I hated reading. I would never read. Now I love reading. I think it is one of the best things in the world. Also one of the most important. I hated fantasy and I would not go near the Harry Potter series with a ten foot pole. My dad wanted me to read them forever. Then Mrs. Shaum assigned Harry Potter as a lit circle book. Now I love fantasy!

(Side note: in a reading conference with Elizabeth, she told me that she thought her dad had talked to me and that's why she was assigned Harry Potter as a lit circle book. I knew nothing of her dislike for the series other than the fact that most kids I assign this book to are in the same boat I was: wanted NOTHING to do with the series, were coaxed into it, and then ended up loving it.)

Vicky S:
Now instead of reading before bed, I read at the dentist, doctor, in the car, instead of watching TV, in my room when I'm punished (most of the time) AND before bed.

Nicole S:
Mrs. Shaum got me to read (well listen to) The Hunger Games and she got me to really like authors I have never even heard of: John Green, Christopher Healy, Ruta Sepetys, and especially RJ Palacio. She also got me and my mom to have reading competitions.

Mickey K:
My reading habits have not changed very much. I still read often at home. My preference for books changed when Mrs. Shaum came back from NCTE with a bunch of books and did book talks on them. Another time they changed was when our classmates did book talks. 

Grace R:
My reading habits have changed over the year. I am now reading young adult books. Last year I was reading books below my grade level. I'm glad I'm reading more. Young adult books give me ideas for stories too.

Bea B:
When I started I really only liked realistic fiction and mystery. Now I have grown to like fantasy and historical fiction. I also used to only read when I was told to. Now I read whenever I have the chance.


What these students have to say show exactly why lower test scores don't always equate to lack of progress:

Maria H:
My reading rate went down but I can explain. I'm reading a biography that's a very tall book with small text. The other books I read were shorter and even bigger text. I probably would have done better if I read the same book from my last encounter of doing reading rate.

Tommy S:
Throughout the year my reading rate went down. I was reading harder books. I also started to think about the words more so I understand all of the story.

My reading habits have changed because during the summer I used to read every morning. Now I read whenever I can, which is never in the morning. I used to absolutely only read fantasy, but now I also read some realistic fiction and historical fiction. Not to mention mystery and classics.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. Powerful antidotes.

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