You inspired me with your video Justin! I am a first year English teacher with two questions for you.
1) Exactly how did you put together the idea for getting your students to read more via the classroom library you mentioned in the video? I'd like to do the same with my class.
2) Will you share with me the plan you used to pull all the elements together?
Thanks for the encouraging words!
Here are some things to consider when motivating students to read:
Research indicates that when students read on their own, if the text is too easy or too difficult reading comprehension growth suffers greatly. It's KEY that you assess the reading levels of your students when planning a reading program. Also, students are much more likely to want to read texts that they choose (no surprise here). Thus, the best way to get students to cultivate a love for reading is to have a classroom library with high-interests texts at various difficulty levels.
I actually don't have a world map theme when I have students do independent reading (maybe you're thinking of another one of the mentor teachers?), however I have found a lot of success with the following method:
1) I assess what reading level my students are at. I use the SRI (Scholastic Reading Inventory) to assess the reading lexile that my students are at. I give them the assessment at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. If you don't have access to this then you can adapt using whatever reading assessment your school site uses.
2) I assign levels to my students based on their lexile score.
3) I sent my TAs and some of my students to the school book depository and had them get a whole bunch of books that they thought would be interesting. Then I had my TAs look up the books using this site:
4) I had them divide up the books into 4 levels: Level 1 below 500. Level 2 500-700. Level 3 700-850. Level 4 850 and up. If they couldn't find the book I had them remove it.
5) Students are allowed to choose their own books and they are assigned nightly reading. I only assign 5 pages, but most of the students end up reading more.
6) I have an incentive chart on the wall that I use to record reading. I award stamps according to the length and difficulty of the book. The minimum amount of stamps that I give is 3, even if the book is really short. Take a look here:
http://blogs.scholastic.com/classroom_solutions/2009/07/welcome-to-justin-lims-9th-grade-english-class-.html for a better explanation of the incentive chart.
7) I have a small "special library" that I keep behind my desk (about 40-50 books). I use this to personally recommend books to students who are having difficulty finding books that they like. For some reason the exclusivity of "Mr. Lim's special library" seems to get kids going (I know right?). I'm constantly getting kids asking if I can help them choose a book from behind my desk (I don't accomodate them all because it takes too much time).
8) Lastly, I share with my students about books that I've read. Sometimes I'll read interesting portions from books in the library or sometimes I just talk about a book that I'm reading. Of course, I emphasize things that I like about the particular book. If we have silent reading time in class, I'll actually sit on my stool (I try not to sit behind my desk) and read a book, just to model. I smile and make facial gestures when I do so.... yes... I know... but it works... If I'm not doing this, then I'll patrol and ask students about their books.
Setting up the system is tough (it's an ongoing process), but it pays off. My students read A LOT. Also, keep in mind that these are mostly students who are reading at least 2 grade levels below their peers. Almost all of my kids end up reading more books during the year than ever before. I've had students finish 10-15 novels (this is all on their own time). Even if you have to slowly set up your system through the year it's worth it for later on. I'm actually right now trying to think of a system of student book recommendations. It's always a process.
Hope that this helps!
Sign up today for free teaching ideas, lesson plans, online activities, tips for your classroom, and much more.
Choose your grade range:
See a sample >