One of the most frustrating aspects of teaching English Language Arts can be holding students accountable for their reading. As educators, we must hold students accountable for their reading to get them to become skilled readers. We must hold students accountable for reading (without killing their love of reading). As educators, we should:
1. Be a model reader:
Display the behaviors we want to see in our students; read everyday, make and ask for book recommendations, talk about what we are reading with students, and get excited about reading, set and share reading goals for ourselves before asking our students to do so, be seen with books and be seen reading them.
2. Make it authentic:
Directly teach students how to select just right books and then let them self select their reading materials. Only intervene when we see a student struggling to make appropriate choices. Provide many choices for book evaluations, such as write book reviews, book recommendations, and blog about books read, book talks in front of class, or making book trailers to share, etc. Keep the reading and activities real, things a real reader would do outside of a classroom, things a student would continue to do outside of school. Foster life long reading habits and life long readers.
3. Provide class time to read:
Provide regular, protected, 'time on task' reading time everyday. As a teacher, we can use this independent student reading time to conduct individual reading comprehension conferences, help struggling readers select appropriate books, conduct small group reading instruction, or whatever suits the needs of our students. But we should take at least one opportunity a week to read along side your students in class to model that behavior in front of them. Remember, not all students have had the experience of parents reading aloud to them. Reading a book in installments encourages attendance, read aloud selections can spread joy and passion for specific texts and expose students to new authors or genres. Read alouds build a culture of reading and may fill in some gaps for some struggling students.
4. Keep it real:
Be understanding and supportive of students in their reading endeavors, especially when they are not being successful. Use support and encouragement to motivate students to read. They will be more successful with kind patience and understanding than with criticism.
In ELA class, student reading goals are set using the results of the STAR reading assessment. Students are giving a book level goal, % accuracy goal for comprehension, and book point goal. Students take the STAR Assessment at the beginning and end of each grading period to assess growth and areas requiring remediation. Parents should receive the contract with report cards each grading period to be reviewed, signed, and returned to the ELA teacher.