Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time to Read

Who is excited to attend the upcoming IASL conference?  I am!

Sean MacEntee - Creative Commons attribution -
One thing I'll be sharing during our two days in Des Moines is an action research project underway with aliterate 5th/6th graders at my school (those kids who can read but decide not to). When Prairie Creek teachers were asked to describe the habits of avid readers stamina topped the list. My colleagues were able to identify kids who lacked stamina (the ability to read for a sustained period of time) because we devote 25 minutes a day to free choice reading. Teachers can observe who is able to take full advantage of the time and who is struggling to read without distraction.  Time for kids to read in this way is important. In fact it is essential to literacy development and literacy instruction.  I'm curious if enough emphasis is being placed on this kind of time during the school day.

I looked to recent research  by the Iowa Reading Research Center ( about literacy instruction in Iowa but could not find data on the number of minutes being allocated for free reading. This research is revealing in the wide variety of instructional minutes, methods, and canned programs being used across the state. It is also revealing that time for students to read books they picked was overlooked (unless I missed it in there - if you see it please let me know). This has left me wondering about free reading time in our schools.  What I call free reading could be called by lots of other names. Regardless of labeling I'm interested in the number of minutes being devoted during the literacy block for students to read books they have selected.

Would you take a moment to help gather this data about student choice?

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