Want Your Students to Read More? Make Them Sign Up!

Last year I set out to solve the riddle of how to get students to do more independent reading. I was convinced that if they were able to choose their books and if they stuck with that book long enough, they would enjoy reading. I don’t know to what extent my students would claim they enjoyed their reading, but I did find some great ways to nudge them to do more of it.

In today’s post I will share with you the top nudge in getting students to complete more independent reading. And the tip comes from the psychological effect of signing your name.

Continue reading “Want Your Students to Read More? Make Them Sign Up!”

Change Your Stance on Outside Reading: 4 Factors to Consider

When I started teaching, I did not assign outside reading. Eventually, I tried it, but remained skeptical. I discovered there was a contingent of teachers who were strongly opposed to the idea. “They just don’t want to read,” some would say. “And they cheat,” the same people would continue.

Do students choose to avoid reading? Yes. Do they succumb to the temptation to cheat? Yes. I’m not going to deny it. But the benefits of assigning outside reading far outweigh these concerns though. Here are a couple of stories.

Last year, a student told me, “I am so grateful for this assignment because you helped me find my inner bookworm!” We had great, brief conversations about reading over while she was in my class. Another student told me she made her brother drive to three libraries and finally a Barnes & Noble just to get her hands on a copy of the second book in a series. She found the first book because of the outside reading assignment and didn’t even care if she was to get credit toward the next outside reading for this book.  Continue reading “Change Your Stance on Outside Reading: 4 Factors to Consider”

Professional Development: Are You Waiting on Your District?

When I first entered the teaching, I was awash in professional development. It seemed like there was no shortage of money to request training either. Then the housing market crashed, the cash flow slowed to a trickle, and professional development was scaled far, far back. My state’s governor at the time lifted the professional development hours requirement in order to maintain keep one’s credential cleared. And poof, it was pretty much gone.

If I was going to sit and wait for my district to bring the learning to me, then I was going to do quite a bit of waiting. That wasn’t going to be good for me. It definitely wouldn’t be good for my students. What’s a teacher to do?  Continue reading “Professional Development: Are You Waiting on Your District?”

Whatever It Takes

From a book I am reading, by writer’s I highly respect, comes this statement, “Whatever it takes — that’s the job of a teacher.”

A statement like this sets off alarms in my head, but for this Monday, I want to do something that I ask of my students. When they first read a text, I ask my students to read “with the grain.” That means they are going to accept it as true, agree with the author, and see what’s there. Later they are asked to read against the grain, which we will do later this week. For now, let’s go with it.  Continue reading “Whatever It Takes”

Summer Reads

What are you reading?

Summer is here, and for most teachers that means getting to the books they have put aside for months. I have a growing list, but let’s keep it simple here.

These are my top five titles that I want to complete this summer, in no particular order:

  • Write Short Kindle Books: A Self-Publishing Manifest for Non-Fiction Authors by Nathan Meunier
  • Visible Learning for Literacy: Implementing the Practices That Work Best to Accelerate Student Learning by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, and John Hattie
  • Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris
  • Well Spoken: Teaching Speaking to All Students by Erik Palmer
  • All These Shiny Worlds: The 2016 ImmerseOrDie Anthology by Jefferson Smith et al.

What are you reading?

Connect with me over at Goodreads.