On Reading

Larry Ferlazzo links to an article from the Christian Science Monitor on “slow reading” . The gist of the article is that students are learning to read in a different way than before. They are skimming instead of reading for understanding. This is part of a larger movement which says that people who read on a screen tend to skim more than read longer works. This reading style than changes the way that our brains are wired.

This made me think of some of the changes that we have made at our school. Our sixth grade students are all conferencing with their teachers. This conferencing has made it much more difficult for kids to “fake read”- which apparently lots of them have been doing for a long time. By having to talk to a teacher about the book, they are being held accountable. For many of them, they are truly reading whole books for the first time.  These students have been getting away with pretending to read, or reading just parts of books for a long time (apparently several of them have learned that if you read the very beginning and the very end of the book- you can convince the teacher that you’ve “read” the book). Another popular strategy is to “read” books that have a movie out. The conferencing is going well for the most part. There are still some kinks to work out, but it seems to be paying good dividends.

How do you know that your students are really reading?