I unveiled to my students The 1,000,000 Word Challenge this year, a focus on independent reading. So far, the results are mixed. While it’s been hard moving to a reading workshop model, there have been some successes.
Good So Far
- My classroom library is growing. Thanks to DonorsChoose, I have 300 books. And the students like them.
- Students are reading more than ever before. I gave out a poll yesterday, and more than 80 percent of my students reported that they’re reading more this year than in the past.
- Students are talking about books on Goodreads. It’s also clear, from book reviews, that students like the books they’re reading.
Not Good So Far
- The students aren’t reading enough, especially for homework. The question is, How do I encourage students to read outside of school, to hold them accountable to doing homework, but maintain intrinsic motivation for reading? My reading bookmark idea didn’t much work.
- It’s hard to conference with students. My students are easily distracted, and my ineffectiveness in classroom management has meant very few conferences. This means that it’s hard to intervene with struggling or unmotivated readers.
- I’m not doing enough reading responses and other parts of the reading workshop model. Of course, I don’t have to copy what others have done, but I do think that I’m doing things just halfway.
We Don’t Know Yet
- Is this approach improving student reading? We’ll see in a week when the students take another reading assessment. Next semester, I need to be more clear about what improvement means and do a better job figuring out where students stand.
Over Winter Break, I’ll do more analysis of my progress thus far and create some goals for second semester. Overall, I’m happy with my shift in this direction, yet I know I have a lot to learn. It’s been fun to get excited about reading and to start sharing that excitement with students.