I can teach strategies, pull guided reading groups to reinforce and observe how children use these strategies, and meet with kids one-on-one to give them reading goals.
But, if kids don't spend a significant amount of time practicing on their own, it is quite difficult for them to make significant gains.
I have learned many things with experience. One important thing that I have learned is that you can't expect beginning of the year second graders to walk in on day one and read quietly for 20-30 minutes. They need time and direction on how to build their reading stamina.
We began Read to Self on the second day of school with a 3 minute block of time. We are now up to 15 minutes. We have discussed what behaviors are necessary to maximize our Read to Self time. The students came up with the following:
- Find a quiet place to read and stay there
- Read the whole time (no pretend reading)
- Don't talk or make noises that will distract others
- Get started quickly
Believe it or not, it takes them only about 20 seconds to choose their own spot and begin. What amazing kiddos!