Strategies That Work To
Increase Students’ Reading
By Sandra Taylor
Presented by Gerardo Vazquez
What strategies work to
When Sandra was a young girl she struggled through
reading classes. It wasn’t until 10th
grade that she met
someone who introduced her to ghost stories. As she
began to love reading:
Her comprehension grew.
She had conversations that helped her with clarification of
She gained strategies to help her with other types of texts.
When she started her assignment at Leroy F. Greene Middle
School in Sacramento, she saw that many of her students
could not comprehend, and could not communicate with
others about what they read.
She conducted a study using different strategies to help
For the study, Sandra decided to encourage reading,
and to collect data she would:
Create a reading-rich environment
Give the students a Time Investment Survey
Take the students on visits to the library
Divide the students into literature circles
Give a pretest and posttest
Give a Reading Interest Survey
Creating a Reading-Rich
They had in class books shares. They would look at the
front book cover, the summary on the back, and share
information about the author as a class.
She would allow students to talk to each other about
books they have read.
The only requirement for the classroom library was that
she had to have read the book. This was so that she could
recommend and discuss the books with the students.
The students generated a bulletin board listing their
There were newspapers available for the students to
read on their spare time
Time Investment Survey
The Time Investment Survey was a daily record sheet of
all of the students specific activities, every half hour,
When they did homework, and what it was
When they watched TV, and what they watched
When and what they ate
When and what they read
During visits to the library Sandra would:
Record time and task behaviors of the students in a
Limit the areas the students could go to
Limit the books they could choose from
Each literature circle:
Was divided into groups of 4 or 5
Picked a different book
Member got the same book
Decided on how many pages to read each day
Assigned jobs to each other
Sandra also kept track of the individual behavior of
each student during literature circle time.
Pretest and Posttest
Each students was tested for fluency and vocabulary
at the beginning and end of the study.
The students were given a grade appropriate text and
a red pen.
The student read silently for 2 minutes and then
circled the word they finished on.
Then they started at the circled word and repeated
these steps four other times, for a total of 10 minutes
Then they calculated the number of words per
Pretest and Posttest
To test for vocabulary the students were given a list of
100 hundred of the words were real, and 50 words
The students then read the words and circled “know”
if they knew the words or “don’t know” if they didn’t
know the word.
They were scored with one point for each word they
knew that was correct, and had two points subtracted
for each made-up word that they “know.”
Reading Interest Survey
All of the students were given a Reading Interest
The purpose of the survey was to get information on
the students’ reading habits, movie and TV habits, the
types of books they read, and if their parents read.
The following slides are some results of the survey
Is a Newspaper Delivered to your
This Chart shows that only 60% of Lower level students had a paper
delivered to their home compared to 80% of Gate students.
Amount of Time Watching TV
Approximately 90% of lower level students. 85 % of
middle level students, and 35% of GATE level students
watch more than 2 hours of TV a day.
How often do you go to the
Lower Level students go to the movies more often than Middle
Level and Gate Level students.
Observing Parent Reading
Middle Level students observe their parents reading more
frequently than both Lower Level and GATE Level students.
Results for the Time Investment Survey:
Correlation of Survey and observations in class
indicated that after in-class book shares casual
When students chose their own books for the group
to read, television viewing decreased.
Results for Library visits
In the beginning of the study, many students were
observed being off task in the library.
At the end of the study, all of the students but one
displayed appropriate behavior and were on task.
The amount of time it took students to choose a book
and go to their seats decreased from 45 minutes to 15
Results for the Literature circles were:
The Lower Level students had an increase of 7% of on
task behaviors, the Middle Level had an increase of
24%, and the GATE Level had an increase of 12%.
The teacher observed more students on task when
they had the option of what to read.
The comprehension score of the overall class
increased by 23%.
From the Pretest to the Posttest their was an increase
in both fluency and vocabulary.
There was a gain of 17% for both the Middle Level and
Lower Level students in fluency, and an increase of
15% for the GATE Level.
For vocabulary, the scores of the Lower Level and
Middle Level groups increased 16%. Whereas the
GATE Level increased 7%
All of the methods of reading engagement that were
used (creating a rich reading environment, using
literature circles, limiting books in the library, and
creating a dialogue about literature) showed that they
were successful in getting students to read.
In order for students to read for pleasure, they need
to be “hooked” on the idea.
Application to my classroom
I have always had trouble motivating some of my
students to read on their own. I always have a few
who read without being told, but the majority of my
class always seems to pay attention anything else,
except for their book. Sandra Taylor gave several
strategies of how to encourage students to read.
Taylor also saw an improvement in reading fluency
and vocabulary knowledge in her students. As a
Social Justice educator, anything that I can do to help
my students close the “achievement gap” is helpful.
As I try this in my own class, I’d like to see if the same
strategies would help my EL students learn and
become familiar with more words, as assessed by the
vocabulary test given by Taylor.
There was no supporting Literature used.
There are no references given.