As the year draws to a close, I have asked my class to do quite a bit of reflecting on the amount of reading they've done this year. Most of them completed their twenty book goal, and many of them surpassed it. I had them complete an end of year reading survey where I gleaned most of the questions from Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer (my literature teacher bible).
Out of 43 students, these were some of the statistics I gleaned from them with regard to their reading success:
- 16 students found the classroom library most important and 24 found it important
- 11 students found independent reading time in class most important and 27 found it important
- 6 students found nightly reading at home most important and 20 found it important
Other statistics students found important:
- Book talks = 18 students
- School library = 19 students
- Conferences = 21 students
- Teacher who reads = 19 students
- Reading response letters = 19 students
- Conversations with classmates = 26 students
What these statistics tell me is that you NEED to give students ample time to read in class and let them choose their own books. Does that mean your whole class gets to be a free-for-all? Not at all. There was tons of structure in my class. Students knew what was expected of them and they worked and read at their own pace. I was more a facilitator than a direct instructor. Yes, I still created "required reading" experiences for them with literature circles and whole class readings out of their literature textbooks, but the primary focus was making sure they met their 20 book requirement and that they followed the genres I mandated. It was so rewarding to watch so many of these kids go from non-readers to voracious readers or at the very least, appreciators of books rather than haters of books.
A few days ago, I had students write the number of books they read on a piece of construction paper (I totally stole this idea from Donalyn Miller who stole it from Penny Kittle) and then I took their picture. We added up the number of books in the entire 6th grade, and out of 43 students + their teacher, this was their total:
This was my contribution:
What can I tell you? I just can't stop reading! :) Hopefully my students feel the same way even now that I'm not their teacher anymore.