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Showing posts from September, 2015

Summer Schooled

Summer school officially ended on Thursday, August 6, and I wanted to take a few weeks to gather my thoughts before posting. It was an intense six weeks, and I think I learned just as much, if not more than, as my students.

Here are the top ten things that I'm thinking about heading into the new school year:
Every student, even those that are labeled as "at-risk," can love to read. I have continued appreciation for receiving the Book Love Foundation's grant last year. I took many of those books to my summer school classroom, and I had so many students tell me that this was the first time in years that they had read something they chose and liked. As I head into my classroom, I know that I can't have preconceived notions about which kids like books and which kids don't. I have to give them opportunities, time, and space to explore good books. After many years of not having choice in writing, it takes effort to move writers into finding inspiration. Because I tr…

Reconnecting Readers

Our school's open house was just last week. As usual, I met many more of my ninth-grade students than tenth-grade ones. As student after student walked into my classroom, most of them commented on the books that span my walls. And in my usual fashion, I asked each student about his or her reading lives.

Too many of them expressed their dislike of reading. When I talked about how I try to balance time for students to read what they want and what I want, parents seemed excited. But far too many students asked me about "points," "quizzes," and "word counts."

Is this what reading has become? Do real readers read because of extrinsic motivation and/or punishment? Do they read because they have to, or do they read because they want to?

I'm looking forward to helping these student-readers see that readers read because they have an intrinsic motivation. They're yearning to find out what happens next to a character; they have a question that's pert…