Establishing a reading habit
Have your students developed a habit of reading — not just in your class or at school but also at home or for pleasure? Students who do likely increase their reading volume — the amount of time spent reading along with the number of words they actually read — which “becomes a clear component of improving reading achievement” (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2021) once foundational reading skills have been established.
Not surprisingly, reading a higher volume of text has a strong impact on students’ vocabulary and conceptual knowledge as well as their overall reading achievement (Allington & McGill-Franzen, 2021; Cunningham & Zibulsky, 2013). As former President Barack Obama reminds us, “Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possible.”
“We’re suggesting that [kids are] missing something if they don’t read but, actually, we’re condemning kids to a lesser life. If you had a sick patient, you would not try to entice them to take their medicine. You would tell them, ‘Take this or you’re going to die.’ We need to tell kids flat out: reading is not optional.” ― Walter Dean Myers
An essential part of getting students reading more often is finding engaging text for them to read. AdLit has a Diverse Books Project that can help you expand the perspectives and stories shared in your class.
Author Angie Thomas talks about why diverse stories are important to engaging all learners.
You also want to consider the types of text you ask students to read within and outside of your class. Do you stick to the textbook or do you supplement with articles, blog posts, and podcasts? Do you intertwine fiction and nonfiction pieces?
Presenting a variety of text for students to read in and out of class provides more opportunities to hook students with your content and innately builds students’ critical thinking skills by asking them to make connections and ask questions across texts. It also just makes teaching more fun!
Text sets and read-alikes are two resources that help you to engage and build students’ reading volume by extending and evolving students’ interests in a particular topic, book, or genre of text. But how do you keep students’ reading volume up over the summer break? We know summer learning loss, particularly for students from low-income families, extends the achievement gap. Learn more about best practices for summer and after-school programs for adolescent learners from the National Summer Learning Association.
Afterschool & Summer Programs