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?

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