Thursday, September 24, 2009

independent reading and the classroom

I stumbled across this article, The Future of Reading: A New Assignment: Pick the Books You Like a few weeks ago while searching for another article, and the concepts it presents have stuck with me ever since.  The article discusses middle school teacher Lorrie McNeill's decision to allow her middle school students to pick their own books to read in her class.  To many, this might seem like a risky decision! However, this has shown to give students the opportunity to play an active role in their own education, encouraging them to become independent readers and thinkers.  The question many are asking:  How does the teacher evaluate student progress and keep track of all the different books being read in the classroom? 

McNeill uses an approach that is growing quite popular with educators across the United States.  The students are required students to:
  • Choose their own books
  • Discuss content with classmates and teacher
  • Keep a journal about their reading
Having students keep a detailed journal also encourages independent writing that might otherwise not be introduced to students.  It's so refreshing to hear about educators who are willing to try new ideas, all the while encouraging a love of reading! 

This reminds me of Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, another great book on using independent reading in the classroom.  Good stuff! 


Kelley B said...

what's so cool is that i posted about that series in the ny times a while back - SUCH good stuff and great that you found it yourself independently and were moved by it!