Monday, August 16, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect!

Like anything worth learning and doing, it takes practice to get better. This is especially true with reading.

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
As soon as I observe a behavior that goes against those listed above, I stop the children and bring them back to the meeting area. We then discuss what we need to do to fix the problem for the next time. This process can be slow and tedious, but the children learn that reading time is valuable and we must take it seriously. This video clip is a quick peek inside our Read to Self time. I love how engaged all of the kids are with their reading!

Believe it or not, it takes them only about 20 seconds to choose their own spot and begin. What amazing kiddos!


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