There was no discussion about which book we were going to read or anything like that.
It was just all teacher-centered, all the time, book reports just to prove they had read rather than doing meaningful work after they had finished the book. Every year, Ripp invites students to share their thoughts about what they like and dislike about reading on Post-its. They wanted to be able to choose their own books, rather than being limited to a certain level. And more than anything, they hated the fact that every time they read something, they had to do some kind of activity related to the reading afterward.
She began to understand that scripted programs and reading-related activities—teacher-centered reading instruction—were not the way to help students become life-long readers. Over time, she shifted to a different approach. When she talks about her current practices, she emphasizes over and over again that this is nothing new. Even though she only has 45 minute blocks with each seventh-grade class, she makes sure they get that time to read every day.
When she taught at the elementary level, she was able to give students 30 minutes a day, but she no longer has that luxury. During that independent reading time, Ripp does check-ins with students. Students are not graded for this reading. I want them to fall into the pages. I want them to reach flow. I want them to be silent and in this moment of their book.
We take away choice from kids, especially kids who might not be where we would hope they would be at this time. They never get to go through the selection process.
They never get to just read and struggle with text and have meaningful conversations and sometimes yes, make the wrong choice. Through lots of conversations, students practice getting to know who they are as readers so they can make choices that work for them. You read that right: several thousand. Why so many? I teach kids with lives that share no similarities at times and others whose lives are very much like my own. And so I need to make sure that every child has a chance of finding a book that will speak to them.
Where do they all come from? So it just became my mission that instead of buying things to make our classroom prettier or anything like that, I bought books. I used Scholastic, I went to library sales and parents donated books, and I was always really picky. It was big for me that the books were good, and then I just purchased books. Why not just have students use the school library? Ripp believes students need both.
The books were always right there staring at me. You feel it when you walk in that this is a classroom where you can have fun and where you get to read and you can choose whatever you want. Every year, students are challenged to create their own reading goal based on their unique needs. Each student picks his or her own number of books to read by the end of the year. The 7th Grade Book Challenge is one way she encourages students to build more reading time into their lives.
Ripp participates in the challenge herself, just one of the ways she shares her own reading identity with her students. Outside of things like the challenge, the culture is ultimately built on a day-to-day basis. It really walks teachers through how to implement a more reader-centered approach to teaching reading, complete with all the possible obstacles and pitfalls. I really encourage you to get a copy. To read more from Pernille Ripp, visit her fantastic blog at pernillesripp. Categories: Book Reviews , Instruction , Podcast. Oh, what a wonderful post and interview with Ripp!
Thank you for sharing. I have slowly made my way from the limits of reading levels and have been more open to choice and giving students voice in what they want to do. This year, I am trying the 40 book challenge, and I love it. I feel so lucky to have a school that has moved forward as well in terms of reading, but we have so much farther to go. I look forward to more of your posts. There is a creative way in which works in the classroom, to get students to read extracurricular books outside of the classroom. Just create a book club in which the students encourage each other to read more.
Thank you for this article! I teach 3rd grade and have always believed in the power of reading. I have hundreds of books in my classroom and give time every day first thing in the morning to read the books of their choice admittedly within a range of levels so a 2nd grade level reader is not reading a kindergarten or 6th grade level book.
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Often times it is the only reading time some of these students get. Seeing a child reach the point where they are successful at reading a book they never thought they could read is the most rewarding experience. It is amazing, and I have clung to it, then worried about it, then reaffirmed my stance every week of the semester. So… Thanks for the additional affirmation! I do have a question: I feel like I am failing at reading conversations with my kids. How can I learn to support their comprehension before they are staring vacantly at page 85?
What books should I read to learn more? I would start with asking them how they are lost and trying to find out why they are lost. They are many reasons kids get lost and sometimes they are not even aware of it. So getting them to tune into their reading and also pushing kids to have great reading experiences helps a lot. My students start wanting better reading experiences and not wanting to be lost and so often that goes back to book shopping again with them. Remember, the point is for them to start independently monitoring their own reading lives, not just rely on us every step of the way.
I have been reading No More Fake Reading, which also addresses this topic but talks about modeling how to read with excerpts from classic literature and then giving kids time to practice those skills with their independent choice books. I am a mother of a 2nd grader who takes time to process and has struggles with reading. I want to motivate her more to still have a love of reading inspite of challenges. The school assigns reading comprehension questions with passages every night and asks them to read. What can I do to encourage her to love reading more?
She wants to read Decendents 2 books which are over her head.
I would rather read the chapters with her rather than those passages — any thoughts. And she wants to start a book club. Read aloud at home, do everything that you can to foster the love and then have the passages be homework. You have mentioned a whole bunch of great resources that are for primary or middle school level.
Is there a source to support reading at the high school level? I have been looking for help with implementing a reading program that also acknowledges SAT, AP testing and other kinds of standardized testing and curriculum requirements that are unique to high school. Also, sampling and abandoning texts is a lot of what those of us who are researchers do!
You need to make sure you choose texts that help answer your research question. When my son was six he loved to play baseball. We would go outside every day and throw, catch, run the bases, and learn the game. Someone suggested he join the peewee league in town. He was thrilled.
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After a few Saturdays on the team, he no longer wanted to throw the ball or play outside. I asked him why. When I was a kid I could not wait to get my library card…I felt it was a privilege, because my parents made it that way. We left with stacks of books in our arms, excited we got to choose. I feel sorry for kids these days—no free time, endless tests, and now forced to keep a reading log…grown ups took away one of the last vestiges that kids had…their own magical space to read.
What do we do if we are required by our district to use a basal reading program. I teach first grade and it is so hard for me to copy of a set of worksheets to have my kids respond to reading in writing. I feel like a terrible teacher and I am in my 21st year of teaching! I also would encourage you to start reading the research on reading instruction so that you can start conversations about the programs being implemented.
These are great reminders of what is essential in reading: time, ownership, and response as Nancie Atwell named them. My students grow in their skills and see themselves as readers with specific tastes when we give reading and readers time, ownership, and response. We always have, starting as early as 6 months…bedtime stories every night. Maybe we need to work on this with parents too! This is definitely an issue as well and something I work on with all of my own students.
Just last week they came up with the reasons when writing is trash or magical and so much of it boils down to them feeling like they have no choice and no real purpose. It is definitely something I am focusing on with kids as well. I teach in NZ and we have used these practices for many years. You need to read for pleasure as well as information. I think it is so important to give kids time to read what they like in order to make it worthwhile for them. There is a place for reading more formally but reading books they enjoy helps to create positive reading habits.
Children are to be encouraged to read for meaning and for pleasure. Across the country, the need to raise the level of reading achievement is one of the most pressing. Its new Principal, Molly Wang, walked the building of her school with her superintendent and Lead Instructional Supervisor LIS and observed that there was a need for some change.
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Department of Education. Collins was one of only 57 New Jersey schools recognized for their overall achievements. Lisa and her staff turned to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for support in raising student performance and strengthening the culture of reading. Over the past eight years, Houston County Schools have been on a learning journey with Teachers College, working with staff developers at particular schools and providing Home Grown opportunities during the summers.
However, teachers throughout our school have been working for a long time, along with the leadership team, to bring this work schoolwide, and establish shared practices through collaboration. These past few months have been incredible. Watch Now. For failing to meet performance standards, the Clara T. O'Connell elementary school in Bristol, Conn. When a new list came out last month, Connecticut had elementary and middle schools on it, but the O'Connell School was not among them. It had achieved what no other school in the state had managed under the four-year-old program: It had worked itself off the list.
October 16th, We hope you can join us on October 18 for our 87th Saturday Reunion! You can download the schedule here Continue Reading. October 8th, The TCRWP welcomed renowned educator, author and reformer, Grant Wiggins, to speak to an audience of school principals and classroom teachers on the topic of transfer. September 29th, Buy 5 tickets and get 1 free! Buy Tickets Continue Reading.
Apply now Continue Reading. August 21st, The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project team recently said goodbye to the last of our 5, summer institute participants. August 11th, Among the participants at the Writing Institute were 14 master teachers and supervisors from Saudi Arabia, who came with the mission to learn to teach writing in order to pass that knowledge on to hundreds of teachers across their country.
July 24th, In Mary Ehrenworth's keynote address at the Reading Institute, she suggested working on argument during read aloud. July 8th, Summer institute season is in full swing! June 23rd, New York City is certainly no stranger to red carpet events, but needless to say, when PS 54, the Magnet School for Environmental Studies in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, hosted their own black-tie affair, it was a night to remember! June 16th, With summer fast approaching, you are probably starting to think about ways to support your students' reading and writing development through the summer months.
Read More Continue Reading. May 30th, This new series not only provides a coherent, systematic curriculum in the three types of Common Core writing, it also reflects the latest research on data-based, responsive instruction. Read more Continue Reading. May 19th, As teachers conduct running records, the initial goal is often to see if readers are ready to move into the next level.
May 12th, Across the country, classrooms are changing. April 23rd, When many of us picture our ideal writing workshop classrooms, we imagine students spread about, heads bent to the task, writing utensils filling page after page of writing, perhaps with some soft music playing in the background. April 8th, "All kids have prior knowledge. March 3rd, Writing Pathways: Performance Assessments and Learning Progressions, K-5, by Lucy Calkins Heinemann, has yielded insightful conversations about writing assessments and tracking student progress across the unit and year, as well as studying trends across the grade and school.
T Continue Reading. January 20th, Expanding children's vocabulary is critical to their success in school and in life. January 13th, The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project is delighted to present a series of video clips highlighting the work of teachers in their classrooms.
May 28th, Across the country, the need to raise the level of reading achievement is one of the most pressing. New York: Guilford. Alvermann, D. Effective literacy instruction for adolescents. Journal of Literacy Research, 34 , — Baker, M. Reading resistance in middle school: What can be done?
Bear, D. Words their way 3rd ed. Cunningham, J. Essay book review: The National Reading Panel report. Reading Research Quarterly, 36 , — Fisher, D. Improving adolescent literacy. Grossman, B. My little sister ate one hare. New York: Random House. Ivey, G. A multicase study in the middle school: Complexities among young adolescent readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 34 2 , — Reflections on teaching struggling middle school readers. Knobel, M. National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read. Settel, J. Exploding ants: Amazing facts about how animals adapt. New York: Atheneum.
Taylor, B. Effective schools and accomplished teachers: Lessons about primary-grade reading instruction in low-income schools. Elementary School Journal, , — Tovani, C. York, ME: Stenhouse. Yopp, H. Supporting phonemic awareness development in the classroom. The Reading Teacher, 54 2 , — Gay Ivey iveymg jmu. Baker bakermi jmu. Tweets by ELmagazine. Buy this issue.
Two Good Reasons to Say No When teachers and administrators ask for our opinion on a particular program or practice intended to improve reading, we encourage them to consider two simple but crucial questions: Does it help students read better?
What Struggling Older Readers Need Certainly, some students in the upper elementary grades through the high school grades still struggle to actually read the words they encounter. Put the Right Books in Students' Hands More than anything, struggling readers need plenty of opportunities to read text that makes sense to them.
Help Students Make Sense of Text Struggling readers—and even those who have no difficulty reading—need ongoing explanations and discussions about the process of reading and how to make sense of what they read. Explore Words Within Real Reading and Writing Some struggling readers need to think more about the structure of words. Asking the Right Questions If you find yourself in the position of having to consider whether or not to adopt a reading program for your low-achieving older readers that emphasizes systematic phonics instruction, ask yourself these important questions: When I think about developing word knowledge in my older students, am I sure of what kinds of instruction really count and which students really need it?
References Allington, R. Browne, A. Willy the dreamer. New York: Knopf. Duffy, G.
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