Saturday, March 1, 2014
Saturday Sayings: Reading Streak
My cousin Laurie just turned 50 yesterday. Back on June 1st of 2013 she decided to run into her 50th year by doing a running streak. For you non-runners out there, that meant she was going to run every single day, at least one mile, fully clothed. She did just that. She ran 273 consecutive days for a total of 520 miles. Some might have said that kind of running would wear her out or cause damage. Neither happened. In fact, she became a faster runner. There's just something about the daily practice of a skill. (Way to go cousin Laur!)
Seven of my little readers leave my room every morning for an hour of small group reading intervention. Here's the question I always struggle with. "What am I willing for them to miss?" An hour is a long time and a lot can happen in my room in an hour. They certainly can't miss writing workshop. Shared reading is important too. I need to meet with them about reading as well, so they've got to be around for that. There's really no good answer. In the end, I chose a time when they will miss very little direct instruction. They're gone for 30 minutes of Read to Self (independent reading) and 30 minutes of Daily 5. The negative is that they miss what Richard Allington is talking about above. They miss a concentrated amount of time to practice what I've been teaching them. Yes, I do realize that they're reading while they're out of my room and I appreciate the help they get, but I believe what they do when they're gone is different than what Allington is referring to. All readers, but especially my seven, need time to sit down with a basket of books at their reading level and simply practice being readers, incorporating all they've been taught.
What does "daily in-school reading" look like? Here are some things I don't think it is: workbook practice, reading games, activities, etc. This morning I wondered what kind of numbers I'd see if I did the math and calculated the percentage of my day that kids actually spend reading real texts vs. learning about reading or doing things about reading. All of our kids simply need more time to practice being readers with real live books in their hands. Let's multiply those minutes and keep the reading streak alive.