Allington’s book the classic 1988 study by Anderson, Wilson and Fielding that correlates independent reading with achievement in a startling graph. In one inspiring article, reading expert Penny Kittle suggests that high school students should “inhale books at a rate of 12–25 a semester.” And educators Kylene Beers and Bob Probst Students of all ages understand the concept of personal practice when it comes to music or sports.In another 2001 survey, middle school students themselves say that they’re motivated by choice (Just plain reading: A survey of what makes students want to read in middle schools). The very same principles apply to reading (and writing): if we expect every reading session to be assessed, then our students cannot possibly be doing enough of it.If lined paper is used, students fold their paper in half so the holes are on the bottom and the top blue margin line faces right.
On this point the latest federal standards (Common Core Standards in English and Language Arts) and academic experts (Columbia University Teachers College Reading and Writing Project) agree.
Likewise research at Carnegie Mellon concludes that good readers are not “born” but “made.” Students become readers by practicing. More startlingly, a 2014 Emory University study suggests that a person’s brain increases physical connectivity after reading even a single novel.
”) For a more in-depth discussion, see Janet Alsup’s (Routledge 2015). The key current researchers on this topic are the linguist Stephen D.
Kids get hooked on reading by reading books they love. Krashen (University of Southern California) and the educator Richard Allington (University of Tennessee). Krashen documents the benefits of “junk reading” in Junk Food is Bad for You, But Junk Reading is Good for You and in a plethora of research on his website or in his books . Allington recommends Six elements of effective reading instruction [that] don’t require much time or money—just educators’ decision to put them in place. Cullinan reviewed the available research on independent reading in Independent Reading and School Achievement, commissioned by the US Department of Education.
And, as with music and sports, students are most motivated when they find joy in the activity.
Most state’s ESSA standards, as well as Common Core before that, do not include a required reading list but instead allow schools and teachers to make their own decisions based upon example texts.Traditional approaches may emphasize reading difficult texts with the close mentorship of teachers, but other experts are advocating for a balance between the books students read communally and those they read on their own.Teachers College Reading and Writing Project recommends students read books they can understand on their own, “with at least 96% fluency, accuracy, and comprehension.” Reading a book that’s too challenging doesn’t necessarily increase fluency.Can teachers be certain a student actually read and understood a book on their own and simultaneously encourage that student’s creativity so they begin to write like the authors they have been reading?My middle school students achieve these literacy goals by completing my Book Jacket Report whenever they finish reading a whole-class novel or an independent book.Nancy Barile makes a quick case for reading choice in secondary schools. Here Heather Wolpert-Gawron summarizes the case for student choice as effective pedagogy.And, as time passes, more educators like Katie Sluiter advocate for reading choice as a matter of social justice.When we lose reading, we lose the “cognitive patience” to enter someone else’s world.Lastly, the budding field of Bibliotherapy maintains that reading is a key factor of mental well-being, that the ability to construct nuanced stories, including our own story, is a part of creating identity, part of creating the self.Reading may change the physical wiring of a person’s brain. For more on literacy and changes in the physiology of the brain, see the latest from Scientific American.It’s also a way to build the mental structures that allow us to exercise top-down control over our own attention. Deep reading is an active mental exercise, not a passive one (Washington University study).