I hear it often, “All your students do on Monday is read a novel of their choice?” I then wonder, why is choice reading being questioned but not:
1. Runners running laps, trails or miles on the road,
2. Basketball players of all levels attending open gym,
3. Teachers providing Genius Hour or 20% Time,
4. Math teachers flipping their lesson so kids use class to work on problems?
Recently I met with a group of fellow English teachers four Thursdays after school to discuss Wilhelm & Smith’s book Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want and Why We Should Let Them. Every one of us knew we were doing the right thing by allowing our students choice in reading material but this research study validated our choice.
What did I learn?
1. There are four types of pleasure readers can experience when reading.
2. Each of the pleasures provide opportunities for my students to become stronger individuals.
3. Readers choose to read what they need at that moment in their lives.
4. I can continue to support my students as they make their way through the challenges of being a teen by validating their reading choices.
5. I must continue to provide “open gym reading” for all my students so they can move forward from where they are.
Thanks for researcher and writers such as Wilhelm & Smith, who continue to prove the importance of choice reading, my students will “just read” on Mondays.