Put simply, if students want to be come better readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers, they need to develop and sustain a reading habit. According to Nancie Atwell, author of The Reading Zone, “There is no more important homework than reading [and] the single most important predictor of academic success is the amount of time children spend reading books".
What Can Students Read?
Students are encouraged to read whatever they want. Pleasure reading is only pleasure reading if you get to choose your books! Students are welcome to read fiction or nonfiction. They can read books by the same author all year or only biographies of US Presidents. The goal is to keep students reading and engaging with text, consistently, throughout the year. If you have concerns about what your student is choosing to read, please feel free to contact me.
Magazines, newspapers, reference texts, blogs, textbooks, online fan fiction, etc are all great reading options, but cannot be read for AIRtime reading.
Graphic novels are fine, but if I find that students are only reading graphic novels, I will impose stricter reading guidelines.
Students are welcome to read on Kindles or other e-readers at home, but unfortunately cannot bring them to school.
Students will set reading goals, reflect on their growth, and complete various writing assignments and at least one (1) oral presentation each trimester. They should choose books that are at or just above their reading level, and they should read books that are of interest to them.
How Will Independent Reading be Graded?
I will not grade what students read or how much they read. However, students will be graded on assignments that they complete about their independent reading. Each week students will write informally about what they are reading. They will give at least one book talk to the class each trimester. They will complete at least one formal book review each trimester. Through their independent reading, students will demonstrate specific critical reading skills and practice their writing skills.
How Much/When Should Students Read?
I do not have a total number of books or pages requirement. Students will read for 10-15 minutes every day in class. I ask that students also commit to reading for at least 20 minutes every school night. Between at-home reading and in-class reading, that's a minimum of 150 minutes of reading a week.
This means that students are expected to bring a book to school for SSR (silent sustained reading) every day.
As a general rule, I do not assign daily homework. I expect students to work hard and complete their work during class time. In return, I ask that students commit to reading for 20 minutes a day at home.
Weekends are a good time to catch up on reading if weeknights are filled with sports, homework, and other responsibilities. I do not accept the excuse “I can’t find time.” Students can and students will.
Each week, students should have a parent or guardian sign the reading log to indicate that they have been completing independent reading time at home.
Keeping Track of Reading
Students will keep track of books started, finished, and abandoned in their composition notebooks and will conference with me periodically about what they are reading.