Challenge Accepted!

hqdefaultI read the articles for this week and one thing caught my attention multiple times: choice matters!  I caught a glimpse of it in the first article I read in “Aim Higher: A Case for Choice in AP Classes”.  I understood the article to read that choice is not happening in AP classes because they are advanced classes and teachers are preparing

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students for the college classroom?  Okay, and your point is??  That shouldn’t matter when it comes to reading.  No matter what the level of the classroom is, there should always be choice!  Students are not going to read some old literature from before they were born (I know I didn’t).  The more choice we give them, the more they will read and the more they will grow as readers.  I cannot remember which article I read this from but it said that we cannot force books on students that are not ready for them.  Plain and simple.  I think that is common sense but we are still doing it anyway.  WHY???  This concept kind of goes into the article “Curing the Reading GERM”.  Picture CC by: untitled

The first time I read “AR” on my screen, I immediately went back to elementary and recalled all the books I read or at least tried to and I couldn’t remember most of them.  None of them had a lasting affect on me except for a few and that’s all because I picked books that would get me to the next point level.  Sure, AR got me reading but I never read for the pleasure of it.  I read those books because I HAD to.  I really hope they don’t have AR wherever I go and teach but if they do, I know I have a plan to rid myself and my classroom from that.  This article brought up a lot of good ideas about how to rid yourself from the reading GERM and a couple I found interesting were having reading plans for your students and yourself, have your students make lists of possible books to read someday, and a plan that I love the most, read for 20 minutes everyday.  Get your whole school to read for 20 minutes everyday.  Have parents come in and read as well.  I think it is a great way to get your students to read and everyone that is involved in your students’ lives.  This was a great article to find inspiration from!

The last two articles, “Raising Students Who Want to Read” and “6 Simple Ideas to Get Kids to Read” were pretty similar for the most part and they really caught my attention.  And one thing that keeps popping up is “choice matters”!  You have got to let them choose what they want to read.  We cannot, cannot cannot force them on anything.  It has to come from them and them alone!  While the choice may be theirs, we can still hand out books to them that we know are on their reading level and go along with what they’ve been reading all year.  That, though, requires you to monitor what your students read and develop a reading personality for them.  Ask questions about what they are reading for the week, set up reading conferences with them and support them through it all!maxresdefault  I think sharing your expectations with them and having them share their own expectations are huge factors in building successful readers!  They need to know that you want them to grow as readers!  It will pay off in the end.

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I seriously cannot wait to have my own classroom and share some of these great ideas with my students and other teachers as well.  I do hope that I have some kind of roadblock like the reading GERM so that I can put these theories to the test and build myself up as a teacher and a reader.  I want to see first hand just how amazing something like this could actually play off for students.  I want to challenge myself as a teacher so that I can challenge my students and they challenge me as well.  I am more than ready for that challenge!


13 thoughts on “Challenge Accepted!

  1. The GERM was such an inspiration! Jim Bailey literally turned his classroom around, and he says he owed his teaching life to Donalyn and Amy Pinney’s books and The Nerdy Book Club, amazing. Sounds like your ready for such a challenge in the classroom I wish you all the luck, with great people to back you up like the three mentioned we all will succeed!

  2. asimplebookaddiction says:

    Oh, I hated AR too! I know my kids’ school doesn’t use it, but they use MONDO which I have issues with because it has strict required reading and my 4th grader has started loosing his love of reading because of it. Even his teacher has said she hates it and says that the books at his level are especially boring and awful. It makes me angry.

      • asimplebookaddiction says:

        It is the chosen curriculum for the entire district (and so many other districts). It is one of those cases where change will not be easy nor quick in coming, and teachers have to teach the prescribed curriculum.

  3. AR is a program that I am willing to lose my job over. It nearly wrecked my love of reading in middle school, and I will not allow it to wreck any of my student’s reading lives either.

    • I think what everyone thinks is that just because it gets students reading, it’s a good thing. But if they aren’t enjoying what they are reading then you can kiss any hope for them to be future readers (students who actually want to read) goodbye! We cannot stress it enough that you cannot force anything on students if you want them to grow into confident readers who actually love reading.

  4. Yes!! Choice matters so much. That was definitely the main idea that I got and felt as I read through the articles. I truly believe that choice will motivate students more than most anything. Great blog post, Bre!

  5. We did AR in high school, and I did have a flash back to those moments when I read the article. I remember reading Gone with the Wind because I was intrigued and because it was with so many points. The GERM article was incredible. I loved that he saw a breakdown in the system and decided to change it. Instead of quitting, he made an impact.

    • I just wish AR would do something other than those silly tests where they ask pointless questions and so something that will actually engage the reader into what they are reading!

  6. I did AR in middle school and thought I had escaped it but then I moved to a new high school and they did AR in high school and I hated it! Everyone else in the school hated it too and some kids were failing English because they didn’t do AR and it counted for a huge chunk of the grade. It was turning kids off from reading and I will refuse to do AR.

    • Agreed! I wish there was some boundary between AR and reading where students could pick any book they wanted within their reading level but do something other than a silly 10 question test to see if they remember what the plot is!

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