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According to the National Council of Teachers of English, "student choice in text is essential because it motivates, engages, and reaches a wide variety of readers ... [Moreover,] independent reading leads to an increased volume of reading. The more one reads, the better one reads." When students read books that reflect their own identities and experiences and that take on issues that pique their interest, their literacy skills improve dramatically. Many of my students arrive in the classroom with a loathing for reading because reading feels like a chore rather than a joy. They feel alienated from the texts they have been required to read because those texts do not relate clearly to their lives. I cannot allow that to continue. It is my responsibility to provide them with reading material that speaks to them. My wish list consists of books for my classroom library that relate to my students' lives, identities, and interests. This year I am thankful to be part of a cohort of English teachers in my district who will integrate daily independent reading and daily writing (about that reading and other topics) into our classrooms. We will be guided by Kelly Gallagher's and Penny Kittle's "180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents." Each day, I will conference with each student about her reading -- both formally and informally. As the year progresses, students will create and present short "book talks" via Flipgrid, participate in small book groups, and create in-depth projects related to the readings that most intrigue them. I am confident my students will become better readers and more fulfilled human beings as a result of reading high-interest, choice texts. And at the end of the year, they will include "reader" as a component of their identities.

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According to the National Council of Teachers of English, "student choice in text is essential because it motivates, engages, and reaches a wide variety of readers ... [Moreover,] independent reading leads to an increased volume of reading. The more one reads, the better one reads." When students read books that reflect their own identities and experiences and that take on issues that pique their interest, their literacy skills improve dramatically. Many of my students arrive in the classroom with a loathing for reading because reading feels like a chore rather than a joy. They feel alienated from the texts they have been required to read because those texts do not relate clearly to their lives. I cannot allow that to continue. It is my responsibility to provide them with reading material that speaks to them. My wish list consists of books for my classroom library that relate to my students' lives, identities, and interests. This year I am thankful to be part of a cohort of English teachers in my district who will integrate daily independent reading and daily writing (about that reading and other topics) into our classrooms. We will be guided by Kelly Gallagher's and Penny Kittle's "180 Days: Two Teachers and the Quest to Engage and Empower Adolescents." Each day, I will conference with each student about her reading -- both formally and informally. As the year progresses, students will create and present short "book talks" via Flipgrid, participate in small book groups, and create in-depth projects related to the readings that most intrigue them. I am confident my students will become better readers and more fulfilled human beings as a result of reading high-interest, choice texts. And at the end of the year, they will include "reader" as a component of their identities.

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