Help me give my students access to highly appealing literature, from popular books like Harry Potter, to established hooks for reluctant readers, like the James Patterson books and graphic novels to "jump up" from, as they mature.
This fall, I will teach five, English middle school classes per day: three "core" English classes, one "companion" course geared toward long-term English learners who are reading about two years below grade level and one, two-period block class, for students who are reading roughly four years below grade level.
I encourage all my students to read on their own, for at least one hundred minutes per week.
I provide a variety of incentives and accountability to the students to encourage them to read. Last year, several grew competitive in their efforts; a couple students read over ten books over the winter break!
Many of my students have no experience of going to their local library with parents or of being encouraged to read at home. They are "reluctant readers" who could stand to grow in comfort and confidence when it comes to reading. This is what I saw happen last year as my classroom library expanded, and it's what I'd like to see happen again this coming school-year. There's nothing like watching students who've never enjoyed reading before, get drawn into a novel or work of non-fiction, then take genuine pleasure in it.
I require my students to read independently, for 100 minutes per week. We spend time at the start of the year exploring how this will improve not only their reading skills, but also their vocabulary, writing, spelling, content knowledge, and grammar skills. Two of the three courses I teach are geared toward struggling readers, so I tell them to read whatever they find interesting - what's important is that they read!
So with my first DonorsChoose.org project, I expanded my classroom library beyond the used books I collected over the years, and now I'd like to add a few more, based on what I've seen worked last time!
I want to continue expanding non-fiction and fiction choices to include series that my students already eagerly read. That way when they finish one book in the series, they have more to choose from, from an author they already know and like. Students have also responded well to graphic novels, so I've chosen more, because they provide greater access to challenging content and vocabulary, while providing context (by way of the pictures), that allow them to better comprehend what they read. I also see graphic novels as "gateways" to more complex texts, so I've chosen titles that will allow them to later read more advanced and classic literature with greater comprehension, both of those they'll be required to read for school, and hopefully ones they choose to read, as well.
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