Re-Energizing Students’ Reading Engagement!
February officially marks the beginning of the last half of the school-year. More than likely, it’s time to restore the energy in our reading workshops, and set new goals for student engagement.
In her article in Choice Literacy this week, Katrina Edwards talks about how she boosted reading engagement in her classroom by taking a close look at her students during reading using the “engagement inventory checklist” created by Jennifer Serravallo. *
“Readers, today instead of meeting and talking with you, I am going to stand back and watch. I am going to notice all the things you are doing to read deeply in your books. I am going to keep track of what I see on this checklist so we can meet and talk about the patterns we notice.”
Edwards explained the coding system she used to note and record students’ actions. Some examples: SB-switched books, ER-engaged reading, RW-responding and writing a sticky note, and LA-looking around. Collecting this information over a period of time helped her and her students reflect on patterns and make shifts for more engaged reading. Some of these were as simple as choosing a different book or choosing a different reading place in the classroom.
The fact is, students can’t make significant gains in reading without a deep level of engagement.
According to Calkins (2015), reading a high volume of high-success texts is critical for reading gains. High success texts are those that students can read independently, with high levels of accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.
Some things to notice and reflect on when considering reading engagement:
- Do students have enough independent level texts in their book bags/boxes? If not, they may need more support making choices during book shopping.
- Do students have enough high interest books? As Calkins (2015), states, “If we hope to bring up a nation of readers, it is crucial to allow them to choose among high-interest books that they can read.”
- Do students have enough opportunities to talk and write in response to texts? As Kari Yates shared with us on Voxer this week, students should be spending about 10% of their reading time writing about reading. For example, if students read for 20 minutes, they should take two minutes to write about reading. Writing about reading can also help students to prepare to TALK about their reading.
Talk is a key way that students learn to think at higher levels. It’s a sure way to breathe life back into workshops and engage learners.
- As Calkins (2015) states, “In think tanks, study groups, inquiry projects, graduate courses, seminars – what do you do? You talk. Talk is the medium in which we all outgrow ourselves, over and over.”
- Do students quickly choose a book (print or digital) and dig right into reading? If a student is spending too much time choosing, whether thumbing through EPIC or abandoning too many books, this is a sure sign that he or she needs new strategies for engagement.
If we take the time to step back and look closely at engagement, often we can target areas that need attention, restore focus and energy, and help our students set new, more challenging reading goals!
How Can Parents Help Support Reading Engagement?
- Make sure books students are reading at home from their book-in-the-bags are ones they can read easily and successfully on their own. Have them read these texts to you. Re-reading easy (high success) books helps students build their reading muscles and reach for higher levels.
- Read books to your children that they choose. Just as with adults, books of personal interest motivate and engage young readers – and many times, it’s that ONE SPECIAL BOOK that turns the tide and hooks readers for good!
Calkins, L. (2015). A guide to the reading workshop, primary grades. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Seravallo, J. (2014). The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook K-2. Portsmouth: Heinemann.
Some of our beautiful preschool art from the Snow Unit:
Math Engagement Matters!
According to Catherine Attard, from the University of Western Sydney, students are engaged in math learning when they are actively participating, valuing the learning, and when they are involved in building deep understandings of mathematical concepts.
Here are some areas to notice and support in math workshop:
TALK: In engaging math workshops, there are continuous social interactions happening between students and teachers.
CHALLENGE LEVEL: Tasks are challenging, but provide opportunities for all students to experience a level of success.
CHOICE: Students are provided with elements of choice in their math learning.
RELEVANCE: As with everything, when topics are relevant to our lives they are more interesting and meaningful. Keeping relevance in math workshop is a sure way to increase engagement!
How Can Parents Help Support Math Learning?
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – School Safety Team Meeting
Friday, February 10, 2017 – Single Session
Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – Super Buddies Mentoring Meeting, (upon student arrival), Room #16. Faculty Meeting, 3:30. Topic: Student Assessment data/curriculum.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Mother Goose Visits Kindergarten Classrooms!
Friday, February 17, 2017 – No School; Teacher in-service
Monday, February 20, 2017 – Presidents’ Day, No School.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017 – CIC Meeting, 7:45 a.m., Room #12. (Preschool Conference Week)
Wednesday, February 22, 2017 – First Grade Meeting, 3:30.
Thursday, February 23, 2017 – Kindergarten Meeting, 3:30; Preschool Meeting, 11:30.
MINDSET OF THE MONTH: OPTIMISM
Have a great weekend!