Welcome back to Literacy Musing Mondays, your linkup for all things about literacy, learning, reading, and writing. This weeks guest post comes from Anita Ojeda who shares with us tips to help reluctant readers learn to love reading. As an educator, she knows first hand the importance of reading in learning success. I hope you enjoy her guest post and learning more about her!
Ten Tips for Turning Reluctant Readers into Eager Readers (Who Will Chase the Fed Ex Truck)
By Anita Ojeda
You might wonder what chasing the FedEx truck has to do with reluctant readers and how the two events relate (and who wants their kid chasing delivery trucks, anyway?). Let me explain.
I teach at a private school where 95% of the students would be classified as ‘reluctant readers’—mostly because about 95% of them have never owned their own book nor do they have access to a public library. Reading happens at school. From textbooks. And when I survey my students at the beginning of the school year, 95% of the new students have never read a chapter book in their life (I say new students, because kids who have had me as their teacher have read a lot of books—including chapter books).
I should mention that the average 12th grade student reads at the 4th or 5th grade level—no wonder they read reluctantly! Textbooks authors don’t generally work to make textbooks scintillating, nor do they work to keep the vocabulary easy.
Here’s what we do at our school to turn our reluctant readers into kids who chase the delivery vans (more on that in a moment).
1. Know their levels. Every student takes a reading test within a few hours of registering at our school. Once we know the student’s reading level, we have the student memorize their ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development—or about 1.2 grades lower than their tested reading level to about 1.5 grades above their reading level). The ZPD represents the success zone for reading. I explain that I can’t shoot a free throw and ask students where I should start on the court. “Under the basket!” they suggest. Bingo! For students who don’t like to read (or don’t read on grade level), they need to start ‘under the basket’—or with easy-to-read and understand picture books.
2. Hold them accountable. Our school uses a program called Accelerated Reader—the company has thousands and thousands of reading comprehension tests for everything from Good Night, Moon to Mutiny on the Bounty. Students read a book, take a multiple-choice comprehension test on the computer, and receive immediate reward in the form of an instantly scored test. We celebrate immediately with a high-five and a sticker on the progress chart. Accelerated Reader wins the contest in best-of-product, hands down—but it’s a paid service. BookAdventure.com works well and doesn’t cost money.
You can find the remaining eight tips over at Anita’s blog (and discover why chasing delivery vans is a good thing).
Anita Ojeda teaches English and Language Arts to 7th-12th graders. In her spare time, she blogs at Blessed, but Stressed a safe haven where caregivers and worn out people can relax, learn and be inspired. She doesn’t consider herself particularly brave, but she recently wrote about her youngest daughter’s struggle with mental health issues for the #write31days challenge in October.
A Prayer Request
On a personal note. Mary is requesting prayer for her husband. We are praying that the tests he’s undergoing turn out negative and he feels better soon. Thanks for your support. She postponed her Thanksgiving series because of his health problems but hopes to finish it. In the meantime, prayers are greatly appreciated!
Only Two Spots Open for December Guest Posts
We have had great response to our request for guest posters for December. We just need a two more bloggers and we will have the schedule filled. Let us know if you want to guest post. I can start filling the January schedule with post about favorite winter books or creative post about learning, writing, reading, or blogging related to winter. If you would like us to consider you, you can email Mary at marykatbpcsc45 @ gmail (dot) com.
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