Independent Reading• What I took away most from this class was theimpact that independent reading can have on ayoung learner. I based my final project on how weas teachers can get our to students to not onlyread when they are required to, but also read intheir free time. I used the experiences I had as ayoung student learning how to read. I also tookthe strategies and terms we learned in class andrelated them to each other, and also combinedthem to stress the importance of reading andencourage independent reading.
Motivation• Being told as a young student that I was supposed toread just wasn’t enough for me. I needed that extra littlepush to get me going; some sort of added incentive. Thisis common among many young students, and whymotivation is such an important part of a child’s readingprocess. Providing motivation that young readers canrelate to can make the difference in them enjoyingreading or not. No one strategy or lesson is going tomotivate every student in your class, but the more youtalk about and stress this in class the more likely you areto have an impact on your students.
Reading Reasons• “9 Reading Reasons” by Kelly Gallagher was a text that motivatedme to read more and really convinced me to do more reading in myown free time. This article shows kids nine practical reasons whythey should read on their own. Including: “Reading is financiallyrewarding.” “Reading makes you smarter.” “Reading opens thedoor for college and beyond.” (Gallagher 2003). Gallagher delvesinto each of the nine reasons and the positive impact they canhave.• I believe I enjoyed this piece so much is because it gives teachers ananswer to smart alec kids like me who asked “why do we need toread this?” It gives legitimacy to the teacher who is on theirstudents about how important reading really is. For many studentshearing these reasons and hearing it from an outside source maytruly sell them on the importance of reading.
Print Rich Classrooms/Praise• It makes it a lot easier to stress the importance of reading and motivate yourstudents to read if you have text for them to read. Not only just books andindependent reading options, but all kinds of literature throughout the classroom.In our text book “Teaching Reading in the 21st Century” it says “Three kinds ofprint should fill your room, published material, print created by teacher, and printcreated by students.” (Graves 2011)• If all these are present and all there are an abundance of all three, students can’thelp but to read. They look on the wall and they will see their own work, the workof their classmates, and even the work of their teacher. They will also have avariety of texts to choose from to read in silent selective reading time.• Seeing your own work hanging up for the whole class to see can serve as its ownmotivation, but praise can be as strong as a motivator as any. Having students setgoals for reading and then accomplishing them can prove to be very effective.Especially when they are backed with praise. Telling a student they are doing agood job can be go miles for a students confidence. Young kids want to do thingsthat they are good at, and if they are setting realistic reading goals and achievingthem they will start to realize they can be good readers. This is the best type ofmotivation a teacher can ask for.
Culture• “It is not all surprising that students are more engaged andmotivated to learn if they feel what they are learning isrelated to their own out of school lives.” (Graves 2011)• This concept seems so simple, yet if as teachers we alter thetexts assigned and lessons we teach to relate to ourstudents, this can help keep students interested and motivatethem to read more. Having a library full of options that canrelate to all different types of cultures and interests isessential.
Choice• Choice is a powerful thing to give a student. There is not one or even two booksthat will fill the interest of every student in your classroom. Giving kids the optionto choose books that interest and relate to them makes reading much moreappealing. A quote that I found to be very interesting in Donalyn Miller’s “Creatinga Classroom Where Readers Flourish” is a students response when Miller asks herstudents if she should assign “The Hunger Games” because almost all the studentshave read and enjoyed the book on their own. “No, no, please don’t! When teacherstell us we have to read a book, we hate it. We like it that we get to choose what weread.” (Miller 2012) To me this quote just proves that students want to choose whatthey read if for no other reason than they just want freedom.• You can incorporate the choices your giving your students in their reading optionsand make it a group activity. Students will not only learn about their own culturebut the different culture of their classmates. This will not only get students moreinterested in reading but in learning with their classmates and improving theirsocial skills.
JordanIn elementary school I was obsessedwith Michael Jordan. I remembergetting a book about his career as abasketball player. It was filled with tonsof cool pictures and stories.Unfortunately I couldn’t fully grasp theconcept in the book and I wasessentially just able to look at picturesand read their captions. I rememberalways wanting to read this book. Itserved as great motivation for me tobecome a better reader so thateventually I would be able to be fluentenough to read it.
Motivation and Culture• The greatest way I can think of to motivate yourstudents to do any work is for them to be trulyinterested in the subject. As I stated earlier youcan give your students this option by simplyletting them choose what they read. If there is atype of book that your students are supposed toread such as a biography, you can give them theoption of a plethora of books from just as manycultures, races, and socioeconomic status’. Thisway they will be interested and still learn thetargeted material.
To Kill A Mocking BirdThis book played a large role in myindependent reading as a child. I vividlyremember as middle schooler given theoption of reading a number of differentbooks. One of which was Harper Lee’s “To Killa Mockingbird”. I went home and asked mymom which one I would like. She told me tochoose “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I enjoyedhaving the choice and being able to talk to myparents about the books I was reading. I alsofell in love with this book, and it really had abig impact on me as a reader and made mewant to read more books similar to this one. Ifelt as though I wanted to be just like AtticusFinch when I grew up. Not only was I enjoyingreading, I was learning about differentcultures without even realizing it.
Fluency“Fluency is the ability to readrapidly, smoothly, without many errors, andwith appropriate expression.” (Graves 2011)• My understanding is that fluency is the abilityto read without having to think about whatyou’re reading. Being able to read withoutconstantly pausing; almost as if it is automatic.
Fluency Practice• There are many different tactics and strategies that wehave learned in class about promoting fluencyincluding: repeated reading, partner reading, radioreading and many others. All of these may be greatways to get students to be more fluent. The one thingall of these have in common is that they all involvereading. As simple as that sounds the more studentsread the better and better they will get. This is not tosay these strategies are obsolete, they may be great forstudents who are struggling and I would encourageteachers to use them. Yet it appears to me no matterhow you go about it, reading is the best way to becomefluent.
My Side of the MountainThe first chapter book I read in myown free time was “My Side of theMountain”. I remember reading iton the way to Colorado on a familyvacation. Although I do not recallmost of the information from thestory I do remember beingoverwhelmingly excited that I hadthe fluency to read it. I rememberthinking I was flying through pageswithout having to go back andcheck to make sure I knew hardlyany words. I felt I was becoming abetter reader which justencouraged me to read more andmore often.
Fluency, Culture and Motivation• I picked these three terms to focus my project onbecause of how well they relate to each other. Ifteachers motivate their students to read morefrequently they will become more fluent, and able toread a wider variety of books including some that mayrelate to them and their culture. Or you can look atthese three in different ways where books on theirculture can serve as motivation to read more which willlead to better fluency. No matter how you look atit, using bits and pieces from all three of theseconcepts will help promote independent reading, andeventually lead our students to becoming betterreaders. Which is the primary goal of every readingclass.
Summary• After going through fifteen weeks of class I tried to think of one mainconcept or message to take away from the class. The one that stuck out inmy mind after numerous readings and activities was the importance ofindependent reading. I took this concept and tried to come up with thethree terms that related best to my experience as kid growing up learninghow to read, and related to how I will teach my own students when I getmy own class. In my opinion the best way to promote independentreading and to eventually get your kids to be successful readers is toindividualize teaching. Motivate your students in a ways that apply andwork for them, present books in your class that relate to them and whatthey are interested. Then get them to read more and more and give themstrategies that will help them as individualizes to improve their fluency. Ifall of these are done at the end of the day I believe that each and everyone of my students will become fluent successful readers no matter whatreading level they entered classroom at.
ReferencesGallagher, K. (2003). Reading reasonsmotivational mini lessons for middle and high school. (p. 17).Portland, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers. RetrievedFrom:https://carmen.osu.edu/d2l/lms/content/viewer/main_frame.d2l?ou=10798060&tId=5566090Graves, M. (2011). Teaching reading in the 21st century.(5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.Miller, D. (2012). Creating a classroom where readers flourish. (Vol. 2, p. 91). Retrievedfrom:https://carmen.osu.edu/d2l/lms/content/viewer/main_frame.d2l?ou=10798060&tId=5312345