This year, however reading is changing for her. Her teacher, Mrs. Wright has made it her passion to engage students in what they read and to assess from there. Ali is now reading and enjoying it again. She is making projects, powerpoints, even timelines using what she has read. Instead of being strictly tested by true/ false and multiple choice questions, she is getting to demonstrate through creativity and imagination those things SHE found interesting in the book. And to Mrs. Wright I am indeed greatful for instilling that love back in to my daughter.
My Dad was a sixth grade teacher for 37 years. I always thought he was a great teacher, because he actively engaged his students. He found ways to get the students into the stories they read. For instance, my favorite was reading Treasure Island and at the end, they had a treasure hunt with clues from the story to find the chest. Engaging activities that encourage paying attention to the details while making it fun and relevant.
At the high school level, our focus is now getting our students to read again. With all they are active in, how do we find the time to incorperate reading into our specific curriculum. For instance is it possible to get students to read 16 books a year? There are a lot mixed reviews on this one. Yes students are busy and yes, there comes the question of, if we require them to read will they really enjoy it. Tough call. Here is what I know. Lately I have had to ask or even beg some of students to put down their books for class, because they were reading the Twilight series and apparently it is one of those sets, you simply can't put down.
Yes we are all busy as teachers, but really, how hard is it to be a little creative, take a little time out of our personal curriculum goals, and get kids to start using their imagination and sharing their creativity. I know I am as guilty as the rest when I think that if I don't finish my semester at a certain point in my intended curriculum, that I did not succeed. But who sets my standards on where I have to finish...I do. So if I want, I can be brave, get out of my comfort zone and assign my students to read. Read a book about at artist, read a book about a time period where art came to a great turn, or simply a book that is non-fiction or fiction that falls within a specific decade. Does it have to be something that pertains to what I teach, it would be great, but no. I can make anything relevant to what I teach by picking something about the book and working it into my curriculum. I think if I am encouraging reading time, talking to them about it, and then we create something that is meaningful to them to help them remember and enjoy, then it is all worth it! A piece of art, do a photography project, create a group project that works with the story...those kids will remember that and enjoy it. Do I expect them to remember the details of what color dress someone was wearing, no. Do I want them to gain a new interest or remember an old love in reading...yes. As much as kids having going on, they still need reading in their lives. It gives them a time out from the real world and let's them use their imaginations and be kids again.