Independent Reading Book Report
And, as with music and sports, students are most motivated when they find joy in the activity.
Most state’s ESSA standards, as well as Common Core before that, do not include a required reading list but instead allow schools and teachers to make their own decisions based upon example texts.
The American Library Association offers several resources on the topic.
Or you can read these overviews from The New Yorker and the BBC (“Can You Read Yourself Happy?
On this point the latest federal standards (Common Core Standards in English and Language Arts) and academic experts (Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) agree.
Likewise research at Carnegie Mellon concludes that good readers are not “born” but “made.” Students become readers by practicing. More startlingly, a 2014 Emory University study suggests that a person’s brain increases physical connectivity after reading even a single novel.
In another 2001 survey, middle school students themselves say that they’re motivated by choice (Just plain reading: A survey of what makes students want to read in middle schools). The very same principles apply to reading (and writing): if we expect every reading session to be assessed, then our students cannot possibly be doing enough of it.Can teachers be certain a student actually read and understood a book on their own and simultaneously encourage that student’s creativity so they begin to write like the authors they have been reading?My middle school students achieve these literacy goals by completing my Book Jacket Report whenever they finish reading a whole-class novel or an independent book.Students benefit more from reading books they can understand than they do from being tutored in books that are too hard for them.The challenge educators face is twofold: even those students who love reading as children often drop the habit as teenagers.Traditional approaches may emphasize reading difficult texts with the close mentorship of teachers, but other experts are advocating for a balance between the books students read communally and those they read on their own.Teachers College Reading and Writing Project recommends students read books they can understand on their own, “with at least 96% fluency, accuracy, and comprehension.” Reading a book that’s too challenging doesn’t necessarily increase fluency.”) For a more in-depth discussion, see Janet Alsup’s (Routledge 2015). The key current researchers on this topic are the linguist Stephen D.Kids get hooked on reading by reading books they love. Krashen (University of Southern California) and the educator Richard Allington (University of Tennessee). Krashen documents the benefits of “junk reading” in Junk Food is Bad for You, But Junk Reading is Good for You and in a plethora of research on his website or in his books . Allington recommends Six elements of effective reading instruction [that] don’t require much time or money—just educators’ decision to put them in place. Cullinan reviewed the available research on independent reading in Independent Reading and School Achievement, commissioned by the US Department of Education.We educators have to ask two questions: 1) how best to them reading. Educator and reading maven Donalyn Miller emphasizes four crucial elements for creating successful readers: 1) time to read in school 2) access to books that are intellectually and culturally accessible 3) choice and 4) reading community.Loose Canon™ advocates a workshop approach for students of all ages, in which students discuss their reading in small groups, conferring with the teacher individually or together, as in Lit Circles and Book Clubs.