We share evidence-based K-12 learning strategies that empower you to improve education.
Both. A teacher chosen high quality Lit. and student selected reading time. The Accelerated Reader program is a great way to monitor student selected reading
Of course kids should be choosing books to read - if they have the opportunity to enjoy reading and understand why they are reading, it will be easier to suggest books other than their first fiction on nonfiction choices when, for example, we wish to expose them to concepts and authors that might not be immediately attractive to them. In the current "benchmarking mania" climate kids will have much fewer choices to make. Teachers are turning reading into a data gathering fest to determine easy, instructional, and frustration levels - it's called benchmarking and kids hate it and teachers spend far too much time doing it. The result of this reading test is a letter - an L, a Q, a P and so on, that letter brands the child as reading at what the teacher determines to be the best level. Next the teacher keeps inputting the proper level book into the student's reading diet, tracking the levels on a grid, proof that the student is reading at his or her "correct" reading level. Oh..this process is repeated several times during the school year - can you imagine how much instructional time is lost as teachers administer this individual test? Makes one wonder why the teacher isn't spending that time reading aloud or doing other real literacy activities that include joy and good feelings and laughter. How many other data gathering methods are in use that kill the love of reading such as this one?
Both, of course. But let's take a minute to acknowledge the difference between academic reading and recreational reading. (See Kelly Gallagher's writing for more information.) Teachers can select books (or provide some choices) when the purpose is to teach academic reading skills or to illustrate themes that can be connected to the "real world." Students should select their own books for recreational reading.
Both, of course. But let's take a moment to acknowledge the difference between academic reading and recreational reading. (See Kelly Gallagher's writing for more information.) Teachers can make selections (or provided some choices) for books that will be used to teach academic reading skills and illustrate themes that students can connect to the "real world." Students should make their own choices when reading recreationally.
Why does this have to be so black and white? Sometimes a book is chosen and sometimes students get to choose. Even in kindergarten more than one book is read a year.
I don't see why this issue has caught everyone's attention. Let's get to the really important issues like why civics and personal finance has been eliminated from many state curricula.
As stated in a previous comment, a balanced blend of student choice and teacher choice makes for a great reading program.
There should be some choice and interest-based selection and some assigned because they have stood the test of time and are necessary to be a well-educated person. If you are preparing for the IB or AP exams you'd better not be just reading something other than the DaVinci Code. That said, if kids only have reading assigned that doesn't speak to them and to which they can't relate, it has the potential to turn them off to reading altogether. And if they only read what the know and are comfortable with, they miss great wonders of amazing books. As with most things in our culture today, we try to oversimplify (yes-no, black-white, good-bad) what is more complex than that.
Teachers should give students a list of authors or books from which to choose.
As a new librarian, an English degree holder, one time (and hopefully future) English instructor, and avid book reader, I encourage others to read whenever they can. Do I recommend books? Sometimes, but I always try to encourage people to read what they love.
Having taught an English class at a university (one I had been a student in not long before), I saw how students reacted to the list of books they could choose from. If adults have such difficulty in deciding which book to read (many on the list were considered classics), then I'm sure children do too. That's not to say that they shouldn't have a choice.
The first problem is we are trying to teach children to learn to love reading. They either will or they won't. We can only foster a deeper appreciation for the written word and encourage them to try new things. If we are to help them, we should also encourage participation. I believe they should have a say in what is read in the classroom. One way would be to take suggestions from each student, combine it with ideas by the teahcer, and make a list of all suitable books. (Some schools may not approve of certain materials.) From that list, take the most popular (maybe the top three) and vote on which one to read. (Obviously this would change if the students read more than one a semester/school year.) That way, at least they feel like they aren't being forced to read something they had no say in.
Also, I agree with Ms. Schultz. Her statement about "The Awakening" is a prime example of why students, especially older ones, don't enjoy reading for class. Hopefully, we can help nurture a life of loving to read...even if it's one child at a time.
I am a school librarian and media teacher in a K to 8 private school, and in my previous life I was a college English instructor. I strongly support a blend of teacher-assigned and student-chosen books for a school year.
Teachers often choose books that they love themselves, but give no thought to what students would relate to. (My own sons were assigned Chopin's "The Awakening" as high school juniors. No 16-year-old boy is interested in a woman's life crisis from the early 1900s. Trust me.) Teachers should choose some of the material, so that students begin to stretch from their comfort zones, but teachers need to consider what students enjoy as well.
Students can learn from the familiar as well. I have (often) reassured parents that their children's narrow taste for mysteries or fantasies are not really a problem. Each teaches certain skills we value in life: mysteries encourage close attention to detail and problem-solving, and fantasies show creativity and imagination in action, often with the result of real world change. (For example, Star Trek communicators became the cell phones of today.)
So kids need both. They need our partnership as well as our guidance.