This semester I have been taking a course called “Reading and Writing in the Middle and Secondary Schools” and our text is “When Kids Can’t Read: What Teachers Can Do” by Kylene Beers. This book is amazing and will be the topic of my next blog, so on to the point of this blog.
I was recently (today) very frustrated with a question that a classmate had posted in our forum. This classmate is taking the course for their graduate studies and is a currently practicing teacher. The following is the forum post:
“I never loved reading as a child it was always a chore to me and I will admit even as an adult I don’t read for pleasure near as much as I should. I feel I am too busy reading what is required which is also how I felt as a child. How do you instill in your students that love of books and reading so that they just want to read for pleasure? Especially when this task is so much easier to accomplish with skilled readers than struggling ones.”
I had so much I wanted to say to this teacher, but how to say it in the right way? I wish that this teacher could have been in my English Methods class because then this teacher would have had several ideas as to how to encourage reading.
Ideas such as:
- Students need to see us (the teacher) reading for pleasure, that all important modeling.
- The more books we read, the more books we are able to recommend to our students.
- I believe we need to have a passion for reading and share this passion with students.
- We need to give our students choice in what they read.
- We have to give students significant amounts of time to read in our classes.
- These are only a few ideas, there are many other ideas.
My professor’s words are echoing in my head, “We make time for what we think is important.” The above teacher doesn’t read for pleasure very often and is too busy reading what is required. This makes me question how important this teacher considers reading to be. However, at the same time this teacher is in this class and is asking for ways to help students. Thank goodness!
The forum post also made me wonder – What would I have said to that teacher had I not been in English Methods class? I don’t even want to think about that in great detail, because I know that I would not have had all of these powerful ideas to share. I have learned so much this semester and I am becoming more and more excited to get out into the teaching world. I want to share these important ideas and practice what I preach with my students.
Finally, this cat knows what’s most important!