Monday, September 14, 2015

Increasing Reading Time! Here's how!

Tick, tick, tick, tick!  It's all about time, in the classroom, isn't it?  That clock just keeps-a-tickin' along.  Time just seems to rule us.  That is true when it comes to reading improvement, too.  You all know that we ask parents to have their children read for a certain number of minutes each night at home.  Have you ever wondered though, exactly how many minutes total each day a child needs to read to increase reading achievement at least one year's growth?  Did you know that it has been figured out?  Yes!  People who are far better than I at statistics, have it all worked out for us.  So what IS that number, I hear you say?


It is 80 minutes total per day.  Yes, that's right.....80 minutes.  That includes ALL of the reading that is "just right" that students do all day.  It includes problems in the math book, directions on a test, charts on your bulletin board (thus the reason you always hear me talking about that), and all the books and stories your students read at school and home.....everything! Here's the key thing though, the reading material must be either "just right - independent level" reading if the student is reading on their own, OR instructional level reading if they are reading with a teacher who can give them support.  It NEVER includes material that is too hard.  Now, if your student is one year below grade level, he or she must read at least 160 minutes total per day to catch up to grade level standards!  Ouch!  That's a tough one!  That is where your reading interventions come in.  They can provide extra reading each day to work toward that total. But we, as classroom teachers, must work to make sure it happens, too.



Yeah right, you say.  How do I do that???  Well, start by checking the reading level of everything your students read.  For the most part, it should be at their "just right" level, especially for your students who are not at grade level.

Think about it for a moment. 

Your on and above grade level students can probably read everything in your class, but your strugglers cannot.  That means that your students that can already read well, get more minutes toward increasing their reading simply because they have more to read.  Whereas your struggling students have far less available that they can read, so they have less opportunity to get the minutes they need, and potentially fall farther and farther behind.

Sooooo.....take a look around your room, what reading/difficulty level are your charts at?  Can your lowest readers read them?  What about your math book's directions?  Can ALL of your students read them?  Do you use reading passages or articles for students to read?  Are they an exact match to your student's reading levels?  If not, find some that are or retype the article into several different levels.  What about morning work?  Can all of your students read it?  Why not meet with your best teacher buddy and brainstorm ways to reach the 80 minutes or more that your students need?  Are the books that your students take home to read, at their "just right" level?   Once you start looking around with the "80 minute mindset" at what is provided in your classrooms, you will begin to see so many ways to adjust things and to make sure that all the text there is accessible to all students.  That alone will increase the opportunity for your students to have more things to read and more minutes spent on reading. Why not give it a try?  You and your students will reap the benefits!

Want to read more?  Check out this book!  This book will tell you about the statistical formula used to figure this all out.  Are they experts?  You bet!  They turned a whole school district around and increased the reading achievement of all of their students....below, on and above grade level!


Need more leveled resources?  Here is an Apples, Apples, Apples! freebie of our leveled passage sets for you to try out.  If you like it, we have lots more available for you here.


Happy Reading!

Smiles,
Kristin

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