We Need to Get These Kids Reading!

I was reading a blog post tonight written by someone I admire in my PLN, Jessica Johnson (@principalj on Twitter). She is a principal in a K-5 school in Wisconsin.  She is a principal whom I’ve been following for the past year and someone who I can really relate to.  I find her to be very inspiring with many down-to-earth ideas and ways of  presenting these ideas to others.

Anyways…  I read a recent blog post of hers entitled, Why Students Don’t Read What is Assigned in Class.  Interesting, intriguing title, right?

What I found most interesting was the video that she included in this post: Why Students Don’t Read What is Assigned in Class. Maybe I am a little naive, okay, a lot naive, but it just didn’t cross my mind that so many students read so little in high school.  Now, I know when I was in school, if something didn’t interest me, I used Coles Notes to help me out as well, so I really should be surprised.   As the students commented in the video, today there is something called SparkNotes. These look way more hip – they include video as well.

It really does concern me that students are not reading. How can students improve their reading ability if they are not reading?  They can’t.  We need to change this for our students. But how? As the students talked about in the video, once they began to have more choice about what they read, their reading increased substantially. As Jessica mentioned in her post, this is the power of the Daily 5 (and Cafe). In the Daily 5 framework, students are given choice over what they read.  In turn, they are motivated to read and can read for much longer periods of time.

After following Jessica’s Daily 5 journey at her school, I am excited that we will have at least 4 teachers exploring Daily 5 next year at my school.

What do you do to help ensure your students sustain a love of reading?

Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

4 thoughts on “We Need to Get These Kids Reading!

  1. Tia, I saw the post and watched the video, and WOW! Thanks for expanding with the Daily 5 – I really need to look into this. Is it for middle school, too? I’m finally reading The Book Whisperer, and this is helping get my unorganized thoughts in order re Genius Hour (my independent reading)! Thanks again! -@JoyKirr

    1. Hi Joy,

      Thanks for the comment. I’ve added that book to my list.

      Yes, I think that the Daily 5 could be used for middle school. I believe it is written for K-6, but I’m sure it could be adapted for older students as well. Good luck! I can’t wait to hear how it goes!


  2. I teach Kindergarten and Grade 1 were ALL children come in loving reading, they love books, they love stories, they see the world as possibility. School system teaches them in a concrete way that things are not possible, things are hard work to achieve and that takes kids aback a little. I have been using Daily 5 for the last 2 years and I can’t believe the difference that choice has made in the attitude of the students. My first year my kids loved to write, this year they weren’t so keen on writing, but the choice of the activity made all the difference. I believe that more choice equals less stress for my students, although within this choice there is very structured procedures, it is your choice what procedure you pick. Daily 5 also presents the teacher with choice within the structure of the procedure. It’s like a nice warm blanket for everyone!

    In my introduction to Daily 5 I found a community of educators (on twitter #D5chat/#daily5) who were also using it. Some had more experience with the program, some had less, some aren’t using it but have vast knowledge about language instruction, but the one thing they all had in common was they were willing to share and support. It was wonderful to have a group to go to when I had questions, thoughts, breakthrough or breakdowns! It is great that a group of teachers in your school are taking this journey together, it will help!

    The Book Whisper is an excellent read for inspiration too. Joy I loved this book! Isn’t really about the atmosphere/culture that is created in your classroom? Every year it’s different, every year you have to try different things. You have to find things that will interest that group, you have to value reading yourself and most importantly share those values. I can’t believe how much my preteen/teenager have read this year because of all the hype about the Hunger Games, they are interested! Their school librarian was able to attach to this hype and share other books that they might be interested in and they have just taken off. trying to encourage interest and importance of the joy of reading are the things that we as teachers can share with children that can hopefully encourage students to read more.

    Well that was a bit a ramble, but thanks for posting a question that started me thinking. I always enjoy reading your blog.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I think that is why I was so surprised by that video, I have mostly taught primary grades where they are very excited about books and reading. Watching that video was an eye-opener, for sure.

      I look forward to learning about Daily 5 with my teachers this year. After your comment here, I am even more excited and intrigued!

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve added it to my list.


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