April 12, 2010

Independent Reading Reinvigorates Reading!

What happens when students are allowed to choose the books they read for class? Our English teachers infused independent reading into their curriculum, and the results have been amazing!

Mr. Hodara, Department chair:
"The English department is increasing the opportunities for students to do independent reading as part of the English curriculum because both research and our own observation confirm that students are more motivated to read when they choose their books. Reading is the foundation for increased language development and improved writing and critical thinking skills. We find that when students read books they have chosen, they are more likely to  talk about their books and thus can teach their peers about the people and places they've read about. They then recommend books to each other and spontaneously form little reading communities. Independent reading has reinvigorated reading at Seabury Hall!"
Mrs. Martelles:
"What’s wonderful about Independent Reading Projects?  Everything!  The students get excited.  They get to choose their own books.  They get to discover their own meanings inside those books & focus on story moments that connect with them.  They get to express their understandings and perceptions in a variety of ways, whether the projects incorporate art, drama, music, essay, creative writing, poetry, photography, slideshow, or other vehicles of expression.   Independent Reading Projects put literary analysis into the students’ hands, because it’s their eye on their chosen books and their voice expressing their own discovered meanings--and that’s what literary analysis is all about."

Mr. Strohecker:
"I think it is important because it allows students to exercise their sensibilities as readers; they can choose books according to their own tastes instead of the officialdoms of the classroom and develop a reaction to it, whatever extraneous materials it includes, that makes living the literature possible."

Miss Davis:
"Readers come in all shapes and sizes. Some readers like science fiction and fantasy, while others go crazy for true life stories or adventure tales. Independent reading allows readers to pursue what interests and excites them. It strengthens the English department curriculum because it introduces students to a wider range of texts and it helps instill the daily habit of reading. If we want our students to become lifelong readers, then we need to expose them to great literature and give them opportunities to find books they can't wait to read."

Mr. Van Amburgh, always the clever one:

"It's good because...

Choice is power.

What we choose becomes us."

Thank you to the English department, for making reading a highly personal experience for our students!

Coming next, as a follow-up to this article: "Why Ms. Sefton Loves to Blog"