Inspiring, Motivating, Engaging…I am looking at what the research says about getting children hooked on reading. I read three short pieces, two articles and one book chapter. Each of them saying remarkably, or perhaps not, similar things. So what gives, what makes a child want to read?
1) a literate environment – lots of stuff to read, time to read, vocabulary building, writing, guidance and talk (Gerald Duffy, Explaining Reading, 2003 Chapter One)
2) motivators a) intrinsic sources – personal interest, choice, search for knowledge
b) extrinsic sources – teacher referrals, family member referrals, peer referrals, having their own books or books to share (Kathryn Edmunds, Kathryn Bauserman, What teachers can learn about reading motivation through conversations with children, IR, 2006)
3) strategies that work – teacher read alouds and student own choice reading time, shared reading experiences (Susanna Pflaum, Penny Bishop, Student perceptions of reading engagement: Learning from the learners, Nov 2004 Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy).
As always I am looking for the implications for my classroom, the ‘now what?” I like the practicality of the Duffy book. I think I will look to read more of it. It also re-assures me that I’m on the right track with the work I am doing already. There are worse things than a little reassurance.
I want to work on contextual vocabulary development activities as mentioned by Duffy. My students love games and I think this might be a good spot to play some. Any suggestions are welcome. I just added a more regular writing component to my schedule. I really like it and I think I’ve gotten better at preparing them for it and following up from it. I think I’d like to play some more with integrating it more fully but for now I’ve had more writing and more sustained writing behaviour than in the rest of the year in the last two weeks. Cool. I want to add some choral reading experiences and some guided reading experiences. I think we need to read to our carepartners more and I think it would be very nice to write with some older buddies. I’ve had more guided writing opportunities in the last two weeks too. Ahh, conversational talk… we’re working on it. How do we do this without pandemonium? I like the idea of more work done in pairs. You only have one person to talk to, this reduces the random shouting part which drives me crazy. I really haven’t been to excited about “turn to your partner”. I haven’t taught it well I guess. They can’t seem to break into talk and break off of talk in a meaningful and controlled way.
So I’m on the road to a literate environment, time to look at where to do now.