Every Tuesday and Thursday are read days. Students bring in their outside reading book and we read for a spell. It was ten minutes at first. In English 3, we’ve stepped that up slowly to twenty minutes and they are doing fine. We’re about ready to bump up to twenty-five minutes, actually. In English 2, we’re anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes. Yesterday was an OK day and they read for a solid stretch. Most other read days, restless giggles and snoring set in around that ten-minute mark. But That’s seventh period for you. We’re getting there.
The real benefit I’ve seen this year is that an overwhelming number of students are walking in with a book. In years past, there’s been a solid contingency of bookless students. There are several possible reasons for the increase this year, not the least of which is that I have a five-point assignment in the gradebook each read day for bringing a book. But I really think I laid the foundation back in September when we read every day.
That has made a huge difference and I’m glad I did it. I see students reading now who, though they aren’t doing the weekly writing that goes along with the reading and they aren’t doing well in the class, never would have found the time to read otherwise. It’s a small step, but if that kid can leave my class with the idea that not all books are bad, that not all reading is a waste of time, then there’s a part of me that’s happy.
Is there anything new you’ve done this year that you’re seeing benefits from? Anything you tried out that is proving to be under the heading of Practices to Avoid? C’mon, fess up.