Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Over at The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller suggests using self-selected reading in class. While I like this idea, it makes me anxious. It's very... open-ended. I don't think I can just say, "Okay, at the start of every class, you're going to read until we begin the lesson."

- Do I assess this?
- If so, how?
- If not, how do I ensure that they do read?
- Heck, even if so, how do I keep them on task day-to-day?
- Should students provide a book of their own or choose from classroom books?
- If they are allowed to bring their own, what do I do about naughty language?
- If I am to provide them, where do I get the money?
- What happens when they forget and/or lose their books?

The first comment to the entry raises some of these concerns in a slightly-different way:

when given independent reading time they will do everything they possibly can NOT to read, i.e., go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, fool around with their friends,and even "pretend" read, even when allowed to choose their own independent reading material.

Is there some way that I CAN incorporate personal reading? I mean, I would love to... I'm just not sure how to make it work.


Ms. Ward said...

Great questions! I absolutely believe in SSR - self-selected reading and silent, sustained reading (or as my students call it - sit down, shut up, and read). Any opportunity to get students reading is time well spent! This is especially true when we as teachers read with the students, when we act as reading role-models.

During the first quarter of my classes I have my 10th grade students complete an SSR project, but I do put some parameters on it. I give out a list of recommended non-western memoirs, but students are free to choose a novel not on the list as long as it is parent approved. Then, each Friday, we begin class with 15 minutes of reading followed by a short reflective journal entry. Later in the quarter, students will use their journal entries to put together an essay on their reading and teach their novel to the class (not a book report, they have to teach the novel). Feel free to use any part of my handouts and lesson plans at

Hope this useful! =)

loonyhiker said...

I love silent reading and think it is one way we can model reading for enjoyment for our students. My school used to do DEAR (drop everything and read) and for 15 minutes each day, the whole school stopped what they were doing and read. There were no passes anywhere during that time (use the bathroom before or after but not during!). Passes to the healthroom were only given if there was a life threatening situation (throwing up was considered life threatening!).

Post a Comment