Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I really enjoy self-selected reading because just a small amount of freedom can lead to a large increase in interests. If the main goal is solely to get students to read, it shouldn't matter what reading level the book is or whether or not they had read it before. I had one teacher that wouldn't allow you to read the same book more than once, and my thought always was, "Well what if I don't like the other books?" If I didn't like the book I wouldn't read, I would pretend to read. I consider myself rather smart, but I'm very sneaky. If I don't want to do something, especially when I was grade school ages, you weren't going to get me to do. I may pretend to stay under your radar, but I will win and I will do what I want. The fact that I was so difficult and sneaky makes me kind of thankful that I am aware of that sort of behavior. Forcing me would get the teacher and I no where, I would just fake it. The Education World website has a great link to a list of 25 ways to motivate young readers. Ideas on this page include musical books, scavenger hunts, book-word search, books on tape, green light - go (peer recommended books), etc. Books with repeated lines and repetition are great for early readers, and there are plenty of interactive websites that glorify repetition. Giving children access to a lot of Caldecott books can help their interests. Usually there is a very clear artistic reason as to why the book won the award. There are so many fun types of media used in the books on the Caldecott list, and it may get your students more interested in art as well! Link to the Caldecott information and book lists. Another great website that I found that could be really useful is a page full of reading/language arts interactive websites.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Round Robin and Popcorn Reading

I did the majority of my elementary schooling in Wilmington, North Carolina at Alderman Elementary School; I went there second through fifth grade. I clearly remember both the round robin and popcorn reading strategies from when I was in school. Round robin reading didn't really bother me much. I would read over what I had to read outloud one time, any more than once and I would make myself nervous, and then I would just listen to what people were reading. Usually, I had a hard time concentrating on what was being read, but I am a much a much more visual learner than oral learner. I would often find myself zoned out in my own head thinking about what had happened at lunch or that morning on the bus. As long as I read along with whom ever was reading than I didn't get distracted. However, when it comes to popcorn reading I dreaded it. I'm not shy, but I hate being called out. I like to know what I need to do ahead of time in order to properly prepare myself. I am very ADD and my mind wanders extremely easy. Popcorn reading was my worst enemy because I always seemed to be called on right after my mind had slipped off to the book I was reading or my favorite tv show. Then I had to scramble to find the place in the reading, and if I wasn't sitting near a friend I was out of luck and had to prepare for embarrassment. I don't think these activities had much effect on my fondness of reading, but I also have a huge imagination and love fantasy and the way you can get lost in a book's world. I can definitely see how multiple dramatic experiences with either round robin or popcorn reading can have negative effects on a child's desire to read. I also remember that my teachers would always make us to do the reading activities for so long. It felts like hours were going by, and you had to read multiple times which meant multiple screw up opportunities! I don't plan on using popcorn reading very often unless it is in a nonthreatening way and for pure assessment. There are better ways to get kids to want to read, not just force them to read.