Monday, August 30, 2010

Letter to my Teachers - PLEASE READ MORE... I'm begging you!

I'm back at school and feeling really great about the awesome Library collection we are building. I sent the following letter out to my teachers this morning to get more reading in class. Our school used to do DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) for the elementary kids, but it fell off because we got "too busy".

I am slowly trying to get this program or FVR (Free Voluntary Reading) time back in place - not just for the little kids, but for all the students. Please use this letter if you want to encourage your are what you share :-)

Dear Teachers,

It’s great to hear that some teachers are doing “reading time” in class.

Research shows that above all other activities in school – reading has the most dramatic effect on academics.
This year’s grade 9 students have a great “reading culture” from Middle School (thanks to the teachers there that took “Reading Time” seriously). Let’s keep up the momentum and encourage students to:
  1. use the library
  2. search the catalog in class
  3. ask the Librarian for help getting the “right” books
Free Voluntary Reading success:
  • At least 25 minutes at a time to get into the “zone” (losing all sense of place and time) of deep reading.
  • Teachers must model reading books at the same time (not check email).
  • No strings attached – no rewards or punishments for reading. We just want to build the environment for the love of reading – which in turn improves vocabulary, critical thinking, world knowledge, empathy and more.
  • Read-alouds (both fiction and academic texts) are also seen as highly beneficial to even older students.
Reading Culture takes a few years to sink in and make a difference. Please help make our students READERS and THINKERS!

1 comment:

  1. I remember being made to feel very unprofessional by a principal early in my career for reading as my students read. I had learned that modeling a love of reading was one of the most powerful practices in encouraging adolescents to read. As a male, this was especially important for the boys in my class - there were few male teachers at that middle school.

    Now that this is an accepted best practice we should latch onto it. A teacher's day is frantic enough already and I strongly believe this negatively influences our students. Perhaps we need to start a Slow Teaching movement that reflects some of the positives and best practices of the Slow Food and Slow Art initiatives.