Reading Class

When you think back to school and reading class, what comes to mind? Is it the many books on the ‘Required Reading List’, the dreaded book report or maybe its endless worksheets to prove to the teacher you actually read the book. Whatever your recollections of reading shouldn’t a class called ‘Reading’ actually consist of reading time?

I don’t personally remember learning to read, but I do remember the dreaded Required Reading lists, dull worksheets, and nerve wracking books reports that dominated my grade school experiences. My love for reading came during the summer, when I was free to choose my own books. I’d check out an armload of volumes from the public library. The ones I loved I devoured, those that I couldn’t get into I’d abandon. The best titles I’d often revisit the next summer.

My early years as a reading teacher were mostly spent following prescribed standards and instinctively coaching students to develop their skills. After 15 years in administration, I am back in the classroom and committed to instilling a love of reading in my students.  Lately, I have been providing a devoted time for self-selected reading, and they love it.  Now when the timer buzzes, I hear groans that they have to close their books.  It’s music to my ears!

So I ask, is there a better way to teach reading than to simply encourage students to read?


The Teacher’s Most Important Job

As an administrator who has recently gone back into the classroom, I have come to the realization that my most important job is to H.O.P.E.

Helping Other People Excell

As the leader and facilitator in the class, it is my job to make sure my students succeed. It’s also my job to model for my students how they can help each other. Students must feel safe and accepted, not only by you but by their classmates as well, to thrive in your classroom. There are several steps you can take to get started.

  • Create an accepting and welcoming environment from day one.
    • Let students know you are interested in them as people, send home a questionnaire to find out what they’re interests are. Try to work that information into lessons.
    • Use the first days of school to conduct get to know you and team building activities. Get yourself involved so they can learn about you too! Continue them periodically throughout the year.
    • Make notes on your calendar to remind yourself to ask about events that students are involved in. Be present at their afterschool activities to cheer them on.
  • Assess your students early in the year. Group them in similar academic groups. Teach small group lessons to get them closer to the standard.
    • Help them set attainable goals and celebrate as a class when they meet them. Encouraging them to be cheerleaders for each other is very powerful.
    • Help students make tracking sheets so they can see their progress.
  • Use administrators and other staff members as resources.
    • Have students visit administrators to discuss their goals either academic or behavior and then celebrate when they are achieved.
    • Invite administrators to your class to see presentations. Students will show great pride when ‘performing’ for other adults.
    • Ask the media specialist, specials area teachers or even previous year’s teachers to visit the class or meet with students to encourage progress.

Stay tuned for future posts on instilling HOPE for your students such as Helping Set Attainable Goals.

Poppy Seed Chicken

This is a great fix tonight and cook tomorrow. It’s quick, easy and delicious.

Poppy Seed Chicken

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

4 chicken breast cooked and chopped

2 cans cream of chicken soup

8 oz sour cream

¼ lb ritz crackers crushed

1 stick butter

2 tbsp poppy seeds

Mix chicken, soup and sour cream and put in baking dish that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Melt butter, add poppy seeds and crushed crackers and mix, crumble over top of chicken mixture. Bake for 30 minutes. 

(Recipe courtesy of Dot Moore)