A typical day in my classroom involves A LOT of reading! This goal is no different from other classrooms, but our students are significantly below grade level and need intense support so they can succeed. My challenge is that for many of our students, school is the only place they are reading.
Our school is under new leadership, as of one year ago.
The team I now work for is passionate about literacy and we work tirelessly to help students become advocates for themselves as learners, and improve their reading levels, so students' futures consist of anything they every dreamed. We teach in a high needs area, where many families have a household full of children, without the resources to keep up with our ever-changing world. Our students begin their elementary career behind and spend the rest of their school years catching up-THAT needs to change! Our families care, but there is a lot of work to get done. Our students want to learn, but we must provide experiences in our classroom that provide opportunities that mimic those in neighborhoods just miles away. We owe it to our students.
The school year begins and our students come to us from all walks of life, but most are below grade level and cannot afford tutoring. It is up to teachers to provide resources in school that students will gravitate towards and want to engage with. The Listening Center I am requesting will be part of our classroom library and all students will be allowed to enjoy it. Thirty minutes of each day is designated to sustained silent reading, and a listening center could provide one more outlet for students to enjoy books. Many teachers couple listening centers with an activity afterward to hold students accountable and more importantly, get them thinking about the books they have just heard. An added bonus will be that students who are significantly below grade level, can still enjoy grade level texts, even without reading the words independently. My hope is for Readers to use the Listening Center, gain an appreciation for reading, build their fluency, and improve their comprehension.
Some students in my classroom have special needs, some students have more siblings than books, some have library cards and use the public library, some attend our "Literacy Nights," hosted monthly, where attendees get free books, others never show up with their parents, not once throughout the year.
What I can be sure of is that when students walk into my classroom that they are met with a smile, a fresh start, and an opportunity to enjoy one of lives greatest gifts, the gift of reading.
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