Monday, February 9, 2015

Independent Reading Time

It's hard for me to believe that anyone would question the need for and value in Independent Reading time at every grade level! For beginning readers and for struggling readers, there is also the need for guided practice that will support their growth in both text complexity and strategies, just like there is for beginning baseball, basketball, and tennis players.  For all readers, there is a need for discussion where the ideas and inferences of others can encourage us to rethink our own stance, just like there is a need of watching films and rethinking plays for developing lacrosse, soccer, and football players. As coaches know, you have to play lots of games in order to be strong and capable players.  As coaches or reading, we know it takes lots of practice to become readers who effectively learn from and enjoy print texts.

Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, wrote an interesting post defending independent reading recently.  Miller's mantra is to encourage her middle school students to read 40 books a year; thus, it is not surprising that she is critical of those studies that do not conclude independent reading is all that valuable (eg. 2000 NRP). This time, though, she quotes research supporting independent reading.  It's out there.  Lots of it.  You have to read if you want to be an efficient, fluent reader, have good vocabulary and comprehension 

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