Most of my students are high achieving and highly motivated. They do their reading and their homework with the hopes of earning entrance into a four year college. They care greatly about getting good grades, but sometimes lose sight of their love of learning in the process. More specifically, many of them have lost their love of reading. They view reading as a boring chore, one that they do begrudgingly, or even worse, don't do at all. I believe my students need more choice in what they read and study, to entice them to be lifelong readers and learners.
In our high performing community, our students "do school," but often miss out on meaningful learning.
They crave choice and independence in their learning. Also, as in any classroom, I have a huge range of reading abilities. By giving them choice, I can better differentiate instruction and use reading conferences to make sure each student has a book that works for him or her.
I run a choice reading curriculum in my classroom, meaning that students get to read mostly books of their choice. I find that constantly having the newest and most interesting books in my classroom is the best way to entice them to read. It's one step above telling them the title of a book and sending them off to the library or Amazon; it's putting a book in a student's hand and saying, "Here. I think you will like this. Go ahead and take it home to read."
I try to read most of the books in my classroom so that I can make better recommendations to students.
Far From the Tree by Robin Benway is a recent favorite of mine, and one that I can see recommending to many different types of students. One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus will likely be continually checked out, due to it's mystery plot line and multiple narrator story telling technique. I carefully cultivate my library to have a wide variety of books. I believe that at any given time, there is a book for every one of my students in my library, just waiting to be found. By having the latest and greatest books in my classroom, I can continue to make this promise to my new batch of students this school year.
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