It’s a known fact that people don’t become better at something unless they actually DO it. This is as true about reading as it is about anything else, and it sounds really obvious, but the truth is that few schools actually allot time for students to read during the day. Without opportunities to read, students don’t become good at it, and it’s easy to “hate” something that you aren’t good at. So lots of kids say that they “hate” reading—or they don’t say anything and just pretend to read the books they’re assigned, using a wide variety of compensatory skills to cover up the fact that they’re not doing the reading.
Part of our job as teachers (and parents) is to help children fall in love with books.
Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisperer, is one of my personal idols. She gets her middle school students to read at least 40 books a year ON THEIR OWN. Her book describes how she does this. You should read it. She also writes this useful blog: http://www.bookwhisperer.com/
I’ve found a couple of other blogs recently that offer good ideas about independent reading:
For even more independent reading resources, check out the TLC “Independent Reading” page. And if you’re interested in some independent reading of your own on the topic of how to get better at something, check out my Only Good Books blog on Practice Perfect (by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, and Katie Yezzi).
If you have any suggestions, please chime in!