• Reading

    Why Read? 

    Question: Why can't I skip my 30 minutes of reading tonight?


    Let's figure it out mathematically!

    Student A reads 30 minutes five nights of every week; Student B reads only 4
    minutes a night. . . or not at all!

    Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.

    Student A reads 30 minutes x 5 times a week = 150 minutes/week.
    Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes/week.

    Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.

    Student A reads 600 minutes/month.
    Student B reads 80 minutes/month.

    Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year.

    Student A reads 5400 minutes/school year.
    Student B reads 720 minutes/school year.

    Student A practices reading the equivalent of fourteen whole school days a
    Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

    By the end of the sixth grade, if Student A and Student B maintain these
    same reading habits...

    Student A will have read the equivalent of 75 whole school days.
    Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.

    One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened
    considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think
    Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

    Some questions to ponder;

    Which student would you expect to read better?
    Which student would you expect to know more?
    Which student would you expect to write better?
    Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
    Which student would you expect to be more successful in school and in life?
    Why read 30 minutes a day?

    If daily reading begins in infancy, by the time the child is five years old, he or she has been fed roughly 900 hours of
    brain food!

    Reduce that experience to just 30 minutes a week and the child's hungry mind loses 770 hours of nursery rhymes,
    fairy tales, and stories.

    A kindergarten student who has not been read aloud to could enter school with less than 60 hours of literacy nutrition.

    No teacher, no matter how talented, can make up for those lost hours of mental nourishment.

    Therefore. . . 30 minutes daily: 900 hours, 30 minutes weekly: 130 hours, less than 30 minutes weekly: 60 hours

    [Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, America Reads Challenge. (1999) "Start Early, Finish Strong: How to Help Every Child
    Become a Reader." Washington,



    Here are important reading strategies students can use before, during and after reading:

    Before Reading

    Predict what the book is about from the title.

    Set a purpose for reading. Ex. "I am going to read this book because I want to learn more about animals."

    Take a "picture walk" through the book. What is happening in the pictures?

    During Reading

    Visualize - make a movie in your head just like you do when listening to a story.

    Question - think about the story, asking yourself who, what, when, where, why, how.

    Clarify - understand new words - figure out words using print strategies
    * Use finger to point under each word to keep track of where you are reading
    * Use beginning sounds to figure out words
    * Use ending sounds to figure out words
    * Use pictures on the page to help figure out a word
    * Use word chunks (group of letters in a pattern like _ack, _ight)
    * Look for a smaller word within the word
    * Read to the end of the sentence. Sometimes the word that makes sense pops right up!
    * Reread the sentence or passage to increase understanding

    Make predictions - "What happens next?"

    Make connections
    * What other story is like this one? (Text to Text Connection)
    * Have you felt the same away as a character in the story? Did something similar happen to you? (Text to Self

    * Does it help you think about something in real life not directly connected to you? (Text to World Connection)

    After Reading

    What did you think of the story? (your reaction)
    * How did it make you feel?

    * What was most important in the story? One way to do this is to think:
    ~ Someone
    ~ Did something
    ~ But (there was a problem)
    ~ Then (the problem gets solved)
    ~ Finally (what happened at the end?)

    During our literacy block, reading instruction takes place with the whole
    class, small groups, partners, and individual students. Development of
    reading strategies is the focus of this time. Guided reading in small
    groups or with individual students utilizes leveled books. During the
    independent reading portion of the workshop, students read Just Right Books -
    books they select that can be read without help. Our classroom has a wide
    variety of books and poems for shared reading, posters, magazines, computer
    activities, and a teacher who loves reading to children and teaching them
    about reading!

    Shared Reading

    Shared reading allows students to participate in reading material that may
    be beyond their reading levels. The teacher models a reading strategy to
    the whole class using enlarged text (ex. big books, basal anthology story,
    morning message on chart paper, Smartboard message). Students all have
    access to and can interact with the text.

    Read Alouds

    The teacher reads a selection to the class from a book, magazine, poem or other print material for a specific purpose.
    It's an opportunity for
    teachers to model reading fluency and reading/writing strategies. This can be done at any part
    of the school day:

    To begin/end your day - intended for enjoyment
    During a reading mini lesson - to model thinking aloud
    During a writing mini lesson - to study an author's craft
    During other content area subjects to support the content area, teach unique
    features of expository texts, teach children how to apply comprehension strategies when reading in the content areas.
    During a genre study - read many examples of the genre being studied
    To introduce an author study - read variety of books by same author
    To encourage rich conversations about books - whole group share, Turn and Talkor Think/Pair/Share

    Guided reading is designed to help students learn how to problem solve
    increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.

    The teacher works with small groups of students reading at similar levels, selects and introduces texts to readers,
    supports individual students as
    they read instructional level texts and engages the readers in a discussion after reading.
    Students are grouped and regrouped according to ongoing observation and assessment by the teacher.
    The amount of support given by the teacher varies with the reading skill of students in a group.
    Each student reads the whole text (or portion of it if reading a longer book).
    The teacher usually does not read the text to the students and students do not read the text round robin (one student
    at a time) or choral read
    (everyone together). Each child is responsible for problem solving the entire text with support
    from the teacher as needed.