For The Love Of Reading

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There is a growing recognition that we need to “do less to do more” in our reading programs at school.  We have been failing to truly instill a love of reading by crowding into reading all sorts of activities other than just reading.

Donalyn Miller, reading teacher and author of “The Book Whisperer”, outlines this well in this short interview.  She poses an interesting question – “Why should reading look differently at school than out in the world.” It’s a point we need to remember – sometimes as teachers we have to let go and trust our students to learn on their own, in the quiet curiousity of their own reading experience.

Transcript: Leading to reading

Well, my early years of teaching I really became dismayed that the love of reading that I felt and the passion that I felt for it I was unable to spark that in my students. And I really felt a disconnect between my readerly life outside of school and what reading looked like for my students in school. And I began to ask myself a lot of questions about why should reading look differently at school than it does out in the world.

And I believe that we put a lot of conditions and expectations and requirements in place attached to reading for children at school that may in fact be leading them away from reading and not towards it. And so I spent many years reading, you know, thought leaders in reading and writing workshop like Nancie Atwell, Janet Allen, Lucy Calkins and really trying to rethink some of my teaching practices in ways that would lead my students toward a lifelong reading habits.

And a lot of that involved getting rid of some things that are more traditional tried and true kinds of practices. So, things like reading logs, dioramas, book reports, reading-related activities that actually crowd out a lot of reading in the classroom. And over the years I saw growth with my students. They read a lot. They read on average over the past decade 56 books a child, and that’s whether I taught fourth grade or fifth grade or sixth grade.

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