Kids Love to Read. Let them.

I had the privilege of hearing Pernille Ripp and Erin Klein speak a couple of times at ISTE.  The topic of their presentations, and of many conversations with them so many other incredible educators was literacy.  In short, the message was clear: kids love to read. Let them!

An incredible thing happened at my school this year.  We got out of the way and let kids read, and did they ever! Let me explain how.  At the beginning of the school year, the entire staff agreed to take a different approach to literacy education and get kids reading.  All kids.  Often.

We did it by looking at the Daily 5, by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser and implementing common language across the school.  Different classes implemented more, or less of the elements of the Daily 5 framework, but we were all committed to Read-to-self and the common language in the framework.  Read-to-self, stamina, urgency, independence and most importantly good-fit-books became words that all students were familiar with.  We taught students how to select good fit books.  They understood that, like a pair of shoes, what fits me might not fit you and that’s okay as long as we all can find a pair of shoes.  We taught them that nobody starts as a good reader, but with practise, anyone can become one.  Day after day, we built stamina, and students independently chose the books that led to successful reading and a love of reading.  Wondrously, our times to read-to-self became magical times in classrooms as students lost themselves in books of their choice.  No tests, no logs, no reports, just book after book after book.