Teaching reading to children is a science, but there is an art to it as well.
We repeat activities that bring us pleasure, which is why teaching reading must be fun.
When we enjoy something, we are bound to try harder,
do it more often and keep coming back to it even if we mess up a bit.
That is basic human nature.
Teachers know how to make teaching reading a pleasurable activity.
We want our students to grow as readers, so we make it an enjoyable
experience. Many of our kids never had "lap time" - when mom or dad
read to them just for fun.
A national reading assessment of fourth-grade students found that reading for fun had a positive relationship to performance on the NAEP reading scores.
87% of students who reported reading for fun on their own time once a
month or more performed at the proficient level, while students who
never or hardly ever read for fun performed at a Basic level.
One of my favorite books about reading instruction is What Really Matters for Struggling Readers by Richard Allington.
There is so much politicizing and rhetoric about how to reform literacy education, and Allington cuts through it all to get to the root of the situation.
As teachers, we all know (or should!) that so much data and research is misinterpreted and misused.
Heck, we're handed out "research-based" programs like they are candy. We're just supposed to "eat them" and not ask questions.
Often these programs aren't evidence-based - there's no real data to support using them. Allington goes back to four grounded principles that we know actually works:
Embedded in these four principles are numerous strategies for teaching reading to children, with a special focus on our students who struggle with reading.
Every year I re-read this book in August (along with The Daily Five) to keep me grounded and focused on what really matters - and to shut out the noise and fluff that doesn't truly help kids.
Turn on the closed captioning on the "education shows" we all like so much on a Friday afternoon.
This way the students end up reading the
words on the television as they are watching the show. Sneaky, but
effective (credit to Jim Trelease from The Read-Aloud Handbook: Sixth Edition).
I even do this to my own three boys at home. I don't know if they necessarily love reading because of it, but their fluency and vocabulary have sure improved!