I attended a summer institute hosted by the Reading and Writing Project. The reading program is new to me, so I was in their first year cohort.
Some of the skills covered included:
Developing focused read aloud plans which support high level comprehension skills
Help readers build vocabulary and content knowledge
Tap research on knowledge building, especially pertaining to text sets and content knowledge
Foster kids’ sense of agency and their critical thinking through partnerships and book clubs
Personally, this institute was very helpful to learn about new authors and books to introduce to our students next year. This institute pulls away from class novels, and instead emphasizes units that allow for "as much independent reading as humanly possible" and more book clubs.
Some of my key takeaways were:
- Emphasize volume (pages read) not just time spent reading. Students should finish chapter books within a week or two. Establish independent reading routine within first two/three weeks to maintain/sustain whole year.
--> Therefore, having a large, comprehensive, and organized classroom library with high-interest books and series is critical (They quoted 1,000!?). Check inventory to update titles every 2-3 years.
- Tip: Let students create their own reading logs! I loved this. Some can make tables, use a calendar with symbols to show progress/interest, or prefer a digital method like on Good Reads. They share with their reading partners every two weeks, not the teacher as homework (check during discussions).
- Read Aloud Lessons in Grades 6-8: Try using some of these recommended middle school picture books and short stories for read aloud lessons (attached below).
- Use the "A Cycle of Talk" routine this year for small reading groups. It reminds me of Kath Murdoch's Cycle of Inquiry.
I found this infographic compelling evidence for how crucial independent reading really is, even if only 10 minutes a day! I plan to show this to my students, so they understand that even just fitting a chapter in on busy nights can make a positive difference in their growth. Overall, I'm really looking forward to beginning this reading program for our 6th graders to encourage a love for reading.
Love the key takeaways and the specificity of volume vs. time that students are reading as being important. I really appreciate the great resources you've attached as well and it sounds like this was a very informative conference to attend. The visual of how crucial independent reading is on student development is powerful to see!