I suspect that our kids would read better if they knew more, so expanding kids’ knowledge of the world very well might promote higher literacy. I also suspect that knowing more about the world will foster curiosity, adventure, a greater sense of community, environmental responsibility, health, patriotism, and even, healthy skepticism — so it definitely isn’t all about reading.
For those of you upset about literature being dropped from the English curriculum, you might want to read this lovely piece written by my friend, Carol Jago. She knows something about the teaching of literature and I think you’ll find her insights helpful.
A middle school reading coach asks if it is important for African American children to read African American literature. Alfred Tatum, author of Engaging African American Males in Reading, shares his thoughts.
In grades 3-8, homework has a fairly consistent impact on achievement — and the payoff tends to increase as students advance through the grades (but so does the amount of homework time needed — more on that later).
Strategy use only makes sense when success isn’t certain. Teaching students to use strategies with relatively easy texts neither lets them see how to use the strategy nor reveals to them the power that it can provide.
For those kids who need basic decoding instruction, targeted interventions are important. But for the others, teach reading using the books those students need to read in their other classes. That approach simultaneously builds reading skills, improves content learning, and increases academic confidence.
Instead of front-loading the first reading, you could try front-loading the second or third — after the kids have had a chance to “pedal the bike themselves” — even if that pedaling isn’t perfectly successful.
When kids get the opportunity to discuss something with a partner before responding to a teacher question, positive outcomes have been seen in the primary grades in reading and in the upper grades with second-language learners.