Thursday, February 15, 2018

On Behalf Of My Middle School Students

On any given day, how much time do you spend completing multiple choice assessments? Me...not so much. This got me thinking about how much time our students spend completing them. (Spoiler alert: it's a LOT!!!)

Unfortunately for far too many of our students, this has become the lens from which they view "reading": 
1. Read the passage. 
2. Read the questions that go along with the passage.
3. Select the best answers. 
4. Move on to the next passage. 

If that was all that "reading" had offered me, I guarantee you that I would not be the person (or Reading Specialist) that I am today. 

My love of reading may have started at home, but it was nurtured both at school and in the community...the public library Bookmobile that came to our grocery store plaza, the weekly class visits to the school library (it was a "special" like Art and PE), and my absolute favorite...when the BOOK FAIR came to school!!! 
(Sidenote: our school's Book Fair begins on Feb 26, and I'm still just as excited now as I was back then. 🎉🎉🎉) 

Sadly, the VAST majority of my reading intervention students do not share my book love. I think it's because of how they have learned to view "reading". When I say, "Let's get our books out and read!", I'm often met with the same reaction I would get if I said, "Let's poke ourselves with sharp sticks!" But I refuse to give up. An educator on Twitter once referred to middle school as "the place where reading goes to die". Not on MY watch, friends.

On behalf of my middle school students, I ask you to please consider the following.

1. A teacher reading aloud from a book while students follow along in their own copies is not a waste of instructional time. 

2. A teacher giving a book talk, then reading aloud a few pages to entice the students to want to read the book, is not a waste of instructional time.

3. A teacher reading a picture book to middle school students is not a waste of instructional time. As I've told my students, sometimes you have to be older to really appreciate the author's message. 

4. A teacher giving students class time to read and discuss books that they CHOOSE is not a waste of instructional time.

We MUST ensure that our students are spending time IN SCHOOL reading books. Not excerpts of books...books. We can't allow our fear that some students won't make good decisions keep us from giving all students the gift of reading time.








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