Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to get kids better motivated to read....

This blog is worth reading and speaks to the challenges I face with my 8th graders regularly!

September 2011

He Read, She Read: Getting Students Excited About Books

By Christie Beving

As an avid reader, I am at a complete loss about why my sixth graders don't enjoy reading. During the past few years I have required my students to read different genres outside the classroom, and although they did the reading, they weren't as excited about the books as I thought they should be. After three years of refining my teaching, I think I finally may have hooked them.

I still require my students to read 14 books of various genres during the year, but have found a few ways for them to share that reading in way that is getting them excited about reading and books: reader's notebooks and must reads.

Reader's Notebook. At the beginning of the year, I introduce the reader's notebook. Set up as a log, it's a place for students to record what they read (or abandoned), how they felt about the book, how difficult the book was for them to read, and what books they want to read. The students turn in the notebook at the end of the year.

I, too, keep a reader's notebook log and display it prominently on my classroom door so all my students can see what I'm reading and how I rated each book. On my log I include young adult books, adult novels, and professional books. Most students check my log weekly and often want to discuss books we have in common.

I also share why I rated some books harder to read than others. For example, I read Brad Thor's The Apostle, but my background knowledge on weapons and military tactics isn't very strong, so it took me longer to read that particular book than other fiction books on my list.

Must Read Time. On our double-block literature/English days we have Must Read time during the first 5-10 minutes of class. During this time, students get up in front of the class and share books they think other students should read. They record their recommendations on a card that we post on our Must Read bulletin board. I also post book reviews that my students might find interesting.

Going Deeper. The final piece of the puzzle is related to the reader's notebook. Twice each quarter, the students share in detail what they are reading and what they think about the literature. I respond to them, asking probing questions to get them to think more deeply about the books and gently encouraging them to spend a little more time reading.

Christie Beving is a sixth grade literature/English and literacy leader at Norwalk Middle School in Norwalk, Iowa.

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