Many teachers have fancy systems in place for kids who finish tasks early. Even though I've believed in my system of simply expecting them to read, over the years I've felt a little guilty about this. Maybe I should be doing more?
This summer I finished The Book Whisperer, and I must thank Donalyn Miller for validating my very simple read-when-you're-finished plan. She makes it very plain that kids need to spend more time with their noses in books. Simply reading trumps all other activities, and she talks about the ways she squeezes out as much extra reading time in her day as she possibly can. So any way I can get books into my readers' hands is not only okay, it's essential! Phew.
"No single literacy activity has a more positive effect on students' comprehension, vocabulary knowledge, spelling, writing ability, and overall academic achievement than free voluntary reading." Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer 51
"What do adult readers do when they finish their work for the day? They reward themselves by snuggling up with their books." Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer 57
"The volume of daily in-school reading many children routinely experience is below an optimum level." Richard Allington, What Really Matters for Struggling Readers 33
"We no longer need to feel guilty that students are 'just reading.' Reading is probably the most worthwhile activity students can be doing." Regie Routman, Invitations 42
I'm planning to give up the guilt.