Teaching Students to Really Read
When it comes to teaching students to read, many teachers have the wrong idea. It’s a popular belief that in order to show kids the joy of reading, they should be assigned to read whatever they want. Valerie Strauss of The Washington Post claims, “the easiest path is to make independent reading at least half of every day’s homework by putting strict limits on subject matter assignments.” This seems logical; giving students freedom to read what they want will make them more attached to the story, right? As it turns out, there are actually significant downsides to letting students read what they want. As Mark Pennington explains in his article from the Pennington Publishing Blog, “Students often choose books with reading levels far below or far above own their reading levels and so do not experience optimal reading growth.” If you give a student the assignment to read freely, of course they’re going to choose a book that’s simple to read. Also, as a teacher, you have no way of knowing whether or not the student comprehended the text. This is why it the best method to teach kids how to read properly is to insure that they have the close reading skills necessary to read books that are on their reading level. The best way to do this is to assign them short, nonfiction texts which challenge their ability to analyze, comprehend, and make inferences.
Strauss, V. (2014, September 08). Why kids should choose their own books to read in school. Retrieved March 17, 2018, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/09/08/why-kids-should-choose-their-own-books-to-read-in-school/?utm_term=.a1d60b23343c
Pennington Publishing Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2018, from http://blog.penningtonpublishing.com/reading/why-sustained-silent-reading-ssr-doesnt-work/
Dakin, C. (2013). The Effects of Comprehension Through Close Reading (Unpublished masters thesis). St. John Fisher College.