« Going 1:1 Rethinking Learning and Curriculum Resources | Main | California Talks of Phasing Out Textbooks »

Reading Poverty - Reading WITHOUT Meaning

This post also appears on AngelaMaiers.com


If the riches of the Indies, or the crowns of all the kingdom of Europe,
were laid at my feet in exchange for my love of reading,
I would spurn them all.
~ Francois FéNelon~

Poverty Poor are the readers who do not know of this love. Poor are the students who sit before us starved for meaning. Poor are the students fed a bland diet of narrow reading experiences. Poor are the readers given sparse access to new texts, forms and literacies. Poor are the readers who come into our classrooms hungry for knowledge, and leave unfulfilled and empty. Poor are the readers who chose to give up on the power literacy affords them by never picking up a book again.

Reading without meaning provides no nutrition for the mind, body or soul. We have a responsibility to bring meaning back, providing students with the rich literacy experiences they will need in order to leave our classrooms powerful readers, writers, and communicators.

Bringing Meaning back requires the following:

  1. Close Examination of Our Reading Goals: Our vision statements promise lifelong reading, our bulletin boards say "reading is fundamental", and we claim reading excellence. But, how do we define excellence? Is it speed? accuracy? questions answered on the test? We lose our way when we fail to describe and recognize the true signs of reading excellence - passion, endurance, curiosity, adaptability, stamina, strategy, and imagination.
  2. Do As Real Readers Do: If schools are serious about their promise of creating life long readers who can handle themselves in the real world, we must be equally serious about aligning classroom practices with the work and behaviors of real readers in that world; asking ourselves: Would this be something that REAL readers would do? If the answer is no, then we should not ask our readers to engage either. This sideshow is a glimpse of REAL READERS in action, and can provide a head start to the conversations!
  3. Share OUR Reading Lives with Students. Let students know why you read, what you read,and how you read. Reveal your habits, your passions, your joys and challenges. Be the first to answer and the proudest to model how reading has changed your life. Here is a GREAT example from my friend, Vicki Davis: Reading to Improve Your Life. I love using this video from Barnes and Noble to get me thinking about WHY I READ?
  4. Demonstrate "Their Brain on Reading"- Reading makes your brain smarter, stronger, and more able to handle the world. Chris Hale's brilliant video explains how neuroscience confirms this.
  5. Let Them Read! Remember what Dr. Seuss taught us? The more you read, the more you know, the more you know, the more places you will go! Students do not need more worksheets, more skills,or more silly "activities". They need MORE BOOKS, (ones they like and can read), and MORE TIME to read those books, and more opportunities TO SHARE WHAT THEY READ with other readers. So, please, please, please...listen to the doctors, and let them read!
  6. WRITE! - Reading and writing are inseparable acts of literacy. Readers and writers need one another. When we teach students to read with the writer in mind, and write with the reader in mind, they see the connection and want to get better at both!
  7. Pass the Test that Matters Most: Every school year I ask my students two questions about reading: What is reading? Who is the best reader you know and why? Their poignant, honest answers tell me what I need to teach, and ultimately let me know if my instruction made a difference. When they leave my classroom understanding that reading is power, then, and only then, will I have done my job.

Rich reading instruction and experience does not come from buying a program, or following a script. The lessons that matter most come from a teachers heart. Teachers can eradicate reading poverty by bringing meaning back into the process and creating experiences that will stay with students for the rest of their lives. The riches of their future lie in our hands. What kind of reader will leave your classroom?

Photo on Flickr by Tariq Fantasy World

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Advertisement

Recent Comments

Archives

Categories

Technorati

Technorati search

» Blogs that link here

Tags

#ccko9
#eci831
#ic3s21
#passiondriven
1:1
1:1 laptops
21st century
21st Century
21st Century Schools
21st Century skills
21st Century Skills
Abraham Lincoln
Accountability
accountabilty
adifference
administrator
Adolescent Literacy Panel
advice
aldonza
aleccouros
Alfie Kohn
Angela Maiers
aptitude
Arthur Benjamin
Artists
Arts
ASCD
Assessment
astronaut
Author
avatar
basketball
Beyond Discipline
Blog
blogging
blogs
boss
calculus
Capacity
Career and College Readiness
Carnegie Foundation
CEDS
Cell Phones
Challenge
Change
change
Charleston Children's Museum
Chris Anderson
CIES
class blogs
Clay Shirky
College
Colonel Eileen Collins
commenting
commitment
communication
Community
community
comparative
compassion
compensation
Comprehension
Comprhension
computers in the classroom
Constructivism
cookie
Copyright_infringement
Copyright_laws
Council of Conscience
creativity
Creativity
Creativity Conversation
Creativity Index
Cultivate
Dan Pink
death valley
Decision making
dennisar
Derailed
Disruptive Innovation
Divergent
dkuropatwa
Don Quixote
Dr. Jeff
Dr. Jeff Goldstein
Drive
dulcinea
Education
education
Education in the United States
educational change
Educational Leadership
educational leadership
educational technology leadership
Educators
effectiveness
Element
empathy
Enactivism
energy savings
Engage
engineering
Engineering
evaluation
evernote
evsc
Facebook
failure
Feedback
Festival
Film festival
firing
formative and summative assessments
Frank Smith
friendship
Future
Garr Reynolds
georgesiemens
Global
Golden Rule
Grades
green technology
heart
heart of a teacher
High school
high school
Higher Education
Higher Order Thinking Skills
hire
history
HOME
Home School Partnership
Homework
hospitals
humility
I Notice
Ian Jukes
Ideas
Identity crisis
imagination
improvement
Improvement
Indexing
influence
innovation
Innovation
innovation3
innovation3 llc
inspiration
instructional leadership
Interests
international
International Society for Technology in Education
interview
ipad
ISTE
Jayson Richardson
job
Job Readiness
John Seely Brown
K through 12
K-8
Karen Armstrong
karl fisch
kellychristopherson
Kent
leaderhhip coaching
leadershiop
Leadership
leadership
leadership development
leadership management influence
Leadership Resources
lean
learning
Learning
Learning 21st Century
legislation
Lifelong learning
Literacy
Literacy and Learning
Love
Man of La Mancha
management
math
math education
mathematics
Mathematics
mboe
Media literacy
medicine
mentoring
merit pay
mguhlin
Michael Watkins
Minds on Fire
moodle
Motivation
Movies
Multiple choice
NAESP
NASA
national educational technology plan
National Governors Association
NCESSE
Neil Rochelle
netbooks
NETS-A
Norma Rae
Nurture
Obama
one to one
online
online learning
Online Software
Originality
osu
Paradoxical Commandments
Parent Invovlement
Parent Partnership
passion
Passion Driven Classroom
Passion Education
Passion Leadership
performance
pete reilly
peter o'toole
Peter Senge
plagiarism
pln
PLN
plurk
Positive feedback
power
preconceptions
President Kennedy
Principal
principal
principal preparation
priorities
probability
Problem Solving
productivity
Professional development
publishing
read/write web
Reading
Reading Next
Reflection
reform
religion
reorganization
research
saving IT dollars
Schedules
school leadership
School Reform
schooling
science
Science
Scott McCloud
Scott McLeod
Second Life
self management
Seth Godin
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai
SIF
sir ken robinson
Sir Ken Robinson
SLC
Social Media
Social Networking
sophia loren
Standardized test
statistics
STEM
stephaniepacemarshall
stephendownes
strategy leadership
student achievement
student led conferences
suffering
summer
Switzerland
systemic change
Teacher
teacher
Teacher Professional Development
teachers
Teachers College Columbia University
teaching
Technology
technology
technology change
Technology integration
technology research
TED
TED Prize
textbooks
The First 90 Days
thin client
Thinking
Thomas Dewey
Tim Irwin
time management
Time To Act
transformation
transformative change
transitions
Tribes-We Need You To Lead Us
twitter
Twitter
Uniqueness
United States
University
University of Alabama-Birmingham
University of Kentucky
vacation
Value
vision
Vision
Wagner
walkthroughs
Web 2.0
Web Filtering
Webinar
weighting
Whole New Mind
wisdom
Wordle
workforce
World Read Aloud Day
Young People