Reading is vital to me as an individual, mother, grandmother, teacher, and leader. I want children to love reading. The more you read, the more you know and learn.
My parents could not complete school and, therefore, could not read. This had a significant impact on my life, and I felt it as a young child. Going to school, the teacher read nursery rhymes to us. Most of the children knew all of them, but I did not. I felt nervous instantly.
Children sitting in your classroom may feel more than nervous; they can be fearful, stressed, and uncertain. Our children have faced trauma issues in some form over the past decade. Many are more severe than others, but trauma’s effects still exist in every classroom across our country.
When I was a child, we often had to take turns reading out loud for the class. You knew when it would be your turn and if you struggled with reading all you could do was think about when it would be your turn. Could you read all of the words? You would look at the paragraph and try to make sure you could do it. So all of the material that was being read, you had no idea what it was about.
It is my hope we are not still doing this round-robin kind of reading. This style of reading turns students off from reading, but also of the content they need to learn. Children who are in a state of fear and trauma, will retrieve information differently from the world than one that is calm.
As a teacher, I know the importance of the development of fluency. Fluency affects comprehension, so how can we access fluency without doing a round-robin?
- Choral Reading (Reading all together-model by pointing finger and reading the words) You should see students pointing at words, mouths moving as they are reading together.
- Shared Reading (Reading strategy used in K-2 with a large print book or material, as teacher points finger reading the text and students read with the teacher)
- Opportunities for students to choose what they read
- Adequate time for students to engage in sustained reading
- Repeated readings of a text
- Access to a range of reading materials (classroom and home)
- Opportunities for social interactions about text
- Recording students reading so they can hear themselves reading
- Reading one on one or in small groups
Struggling readers spend much time learning about how to read and not enough time reading. Having time to read books for the joy of reading is what we want to instill in all our students. We want them to pick up books and read them.
In my classroom, we had books, recording devices, and reading areas. I was blessed with volunteers who would come to help in the school. The kids enjoyed reading to them and also recording to hear themselves reading. It is compelling.