Every day during first hour at my school we have sustained silent reading except we call it GRAB for Go Read A Book. Each teacher with a first hour has a box of thirty books that students can choose from or students can bring in their own materials including books, magazines, or comics. As research shows (so I have heard, I don’t have a source. It is one of those things that I have heard repeated so many times that it must be true:) reading ability will improve by this daily practice and it does not matter what is being read as long as it is at a student’s level.
This year I am trying something new. I am allowing students in my class to read on the computer. I have put up a link to my Delicious bookmarks to free on-line books but I do not think most of them are reading from it. My rules are no games, music, or videos, but everything else is fair game. What I have observed students reading so far are comics and sites such as MTV or ESPN.
I have also created a class diigo account so that students can bookmark and share their reading with each other. They have not used them too much so far but it has only been a few days.
I know that there has been some research lately about the effects of on-line activities and attention spans and some posts in other blogs (like here).
I would appreciate any feedback positive or negative about what you think about this approach. I am pretty sure there is no research on this specific practice and am trying it out because it “feels” like the right thing to me, but I am interested constructive criticism.
So my question for readers is this: Do you think this is an effective way to increase reading fluency?
PS: A quick survey of my class this morning and I have 4 students reading traditional books or magazines, 7 reading on-line books and comics through Google books, and 3 reading on-line news such as sports or entertainment. I think that is sweet!
I have read many tweets about AR lately and thought I would share my family’s experience with it. My son Luke is in second grade and loves reading. This has not always been the case. He started AR in first grade and went from enjoying reading books with me as a toddler to being forced to read stories to me. I blindly followed the advice of his teacher to have him read each book twice each night. It turned into a power struggle between us and he hated it. The books were boring and mostly non-fiction nonsense about eating fruit and vegetables or brushing your teeth or something. He always choose the shortest, easiest books he could find.
Luke made his goals, but hated every minute of it. I partially blame AR, but also myself for pushing too hard. I think he would rather of had me still read interesting stories to him than reading himself. About half way through the year I backed off and Luke read less, but still met his goals. Over the summer he read some but not really that much.
Now in second grade (and still in AR), I continued to not push him to read and he has now taken off.
He reads all of the time.
He reads fiction that he loves and chooses books above his level.
Every night he reads for around a half hour before going to bed.
Last weekend I woke up to him reading a story to his sister.
He has trouble getting ready for school because he gets up and starts reading instead of getting ready.
And the other day he told me “I love reading.”
These things have been music to my ears. Again I can not place all of the blame on AR, but it is definitely a “system” set up to push kids in reading with artificial rewards. There is nothing about AR that was positive or helpful for helping my son learn to read. I think reading is best learned naturally when a child is ready by reading to your child until they are willing to read themselves. Then all that is needed is exposure to lots of interesting books and stories.
I am not a literacy expert by any means but this natural, common sense approach seems the best route to me. What do you think?