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March Educator Forum: How Do You Get Students to Read?

March 31, 2014

Tags: education, making education fun, literacy, student engagement, reading

Photo:http://1.bp.blogspot.com/- F8EZPmCRcXg/USjLEOznZ3I/AAAAAAAADLA/ 50pY11IEBvQ/s1600/carti+copii.jpg
Have you noticed that many kids don’t like to read? Content to sit for hours on end playing games on their iPads, watching movies on their cell phones or texting friends, the only reading they’re likely to do is on Facebook. Ask them to read a book, and their eyes glaze over. The question is why. According to a recent article, among the reasons students dislike reading is the type of reading assigned (e.g. textbooks) as well as having to read aloud when they believe their skills are lacking. Admittedly, those are valid reasons, not mere excuses for shunning reading.

So what are we, the educators, doing about it? My solution was to provide options. As each student turned in a test, to prevent talking until everyone was finished, I required them to either do homework assigned from another class or to read a book or magazine of their choosing. I was always sure to have a variety of magazines available in the classroom as well. As it turned out, unless my students had homework that was very pressing, they opted to read. In fact, my “National Geographic” magazines seemed to walk out the door on a regular basis; students enjoyed them that much. It seems that having a choice of reading materials mattered.

Since literacy continues to be an issue in education, what do you do to increase a love of reading in your classes?

Raising Test Scores through the Arts

April 9, 2012

Tags: education, academic alternatives, academic interventions, fine arts, making education fun, reading, elementary school

Photo: http://nbbd.com/DanceTheater/images/logo-t4gold.gif
What do the performing arts have to do with standardized testing? Third and fourth grade teachers in San Marcos, California can tell you exactly how the arts have enhanced their students’ reading scores. Now in its third year, a program known as DREAM (Developing Reading Education with Arts Methods), infuses lessons with everything from puppets to dance to boost reading scores. And the scores have risen astronomically. (more…)

Combining Books and Technology to Get Students Reading

May 23, 2011

Tags: education, reading, education and technology, e-books, K-8 education, making education fun, academic interventions

Photo: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_FfnBF3JeBUk/TN1zz3tiFQI/ AAAAAAAAAGE/1D7RSoFqYaE/s1600/ebook640.jpg
In view of my own love of reading and the importance of reading skills for academic success, I’m excited about an online program that some school districts have implemented, called myOn Reader. Using a format made popular by the movie rental company Netflix, the program encourages K-8 students to read by first assessing students’ reading ability and then surveying them on their interests. Based on this information, the program then creates a profile for each student and provides a recommended reading list of digital books, much the way Netflix suggests movies for its subscribers.

Making the experience at once fun and educational, myOn Reader gives teachers (more…)

The Impact of Summer Reading

August 16, 2010

Tags: education, elementary school, academic interventions, reading, summer slide

For every parent who wonders why his or her child hates reading, Richard Allington and Anne McGill-Franzen, educators at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, may have found the answer: choice. That’s right, giving students a choice of reading materials makes all the difference. And offering students free books, not only seals the deal, but also prevents the “summer slide” of decreased reading ability that educators often note, particularly in low-income students, after summer break.

Following two groups of randomly selected first- and second-grade students over the course of three years, (more…)

Reading Really is Fundamental

May 24, 2010

Tags: education, elementary school, academic interventions, reading

Do you remember an old public service commercial with the tag line, “Reading is Fundamental?” I was reminded of it recently by a wonderful reading program in Oakland, California, targeting at-risk children, and I was elated. Then I discovered, to my dismay, that our current dismal economy jeopardizes the program’s existence for the upcoming school year. So, the program’s sponsors, a non-profit group called Oakland Parents Literacy Project, may have to end their eight-year quest to raise reading ability in their school district. (more…)

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