Thursday, April 17, 2014

National D.E.A.R. Day - National Drop Everything and Read Day

Even though it is after April 12th, I think that we should incorporate D.E.A.R on a regular basis. One way is through silent sustained reading. 


Regardless if a person is engaging in text daily or weekly, reading is the basis of all learning.  A SLIK-12 post illustrates the importance of teacher librarians promoting life-long reading in multiple formats.

"a middle school teacher tells his students during SSR that "reading fiction is a waste of time, you're not going to read it in my classroom, so get out a newspaper."

Ernie Cox responded to the SLIK-12 post, "I would be looking to clarify how I can help this teacher's class achieve the purpose of SSR.  Maybe asking the teacher to confirm what that purpose is would get the ball rolling.  If the intent of this time is to increase student engagement in the act of reading one of the most important elements is CHOICE. Maybe having him read the opening chapter of this book would help Building Student Literacy Through Sustained Silent Reading/Chapter 1: Creating Lifelong Readers.
This chapter highlights some of the roles (one of them being a model of reading) of a teacher in SSR….(what is this teacher's understanding of his role?)"

This conversation reminded me of a May/June 2009 Library Media Connection article by Beverly W. Nichols What Does The Research Tell Us About Sustained Silent Reading? 

"Stephen Krashen describes three types of free voluntary reading."

1. Sustained silent reading (both teachers and students participate)
2. Self-selected reading (teacher and student conferences about readings)
3. Extensive reading (minimal accountability for student)

Directly from article...

  • Studies have found that students who participated in planned free-reading programs such as SSR do more independent, voluntary reading than students who do not participate in such programs
  • One study that included a follow up of adolescent boys found that the students who participated in an extended free reading program were reading more six years later than students who had not participated in such as program. 

We are dealing with the Common Core's focus on reading informational texts, dispositions such as the SLIK-12 comment above, and social media content that takes time and energy away from fiction.

The bottom line is that freedom of choice to read (educational and recreational) is what matters most.  Working as teacher librarians we provide environments that value opening the doors for all to explore content and make meaningful connections with the world around us.