Grade school teachers often have a difficult time expressing the joy of reading to their students. These teachers often believe that in order for kids to enjoy their reading, they should read whatever they want. This is, of course, an attempt to get the student to chose a book that is intriguing to them and appeals to their individual interests. It’s an honest attempt, but it almost always fails. Students will chose books that do not challenge their comprehension skills and they will skim the pages in order to secure the best grade possible. As it turns out, significant downsides come from 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.”
A better way to help these kids develop their reading skills is to assign them books that the teachers have already read. This ensures the teacher’s ability to guide their students down the right path. Another way to aid students is to teach them how to close read. Close reading is a form of reading in which the reader carefully analyzes a text in order to gain maximum comprehension from it. It shows kids how to truly read a text, rather than just skimming through it. It is an essential skill for all people, and should be juiced in classrooms of all levels for its benefits.
The best way to teach these students how to properly close read is to assign them short, nonfiction texts that challenge their ability to analyze, comprehend, and make inferences. Both the teacher and the student should analyze a reading passage and examine it for details, some of which include understanding how the text works, the author’s message, providing text evidence to support thoughts and predictions the reader is developing, and making connections between the reader and the text itself (Shanahan, 2012). As long as these methods are carried out properly, students will have the reading skills necessary to make them more successful and intelligent.
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.
Shanahan, T. (2012). What is close reading? Retrieved from