Sunday, February 15, 2009


I've been thinking, a lot, since CCIRA last weekend, about how to help kids grow reading hearts, or become more engaged in their reading. I think it's so, so, so critical. Engagement is something we struggle with a lot at our school, partly, I think, because the kids don't see lots of the adults that matter to them reading outside of school, and partly, I think, because we are spending so dang much time testing and getting kids ready to test, that we don't spend enough time helping kids fall in love with reading. I started a conversation with our teachers about this on Friday, and have been thinking about how I know when kids are engaged as readers.
An engaged reader:
1) Can read for increasingly longer periods of time.
2) Is more focused on their book, and hopefully less fidgety and/or able to be distracted during independent reading time.
3) Doesn't want to quit when reading time is over.
4) Chooses to read at other times throughout the day.
5) Can easily talk about favorite books, authors, genre.
6) Chooses to read all of the books in a series or all of the books by an author.
7) Encourages other people to read books he/she has just finished.
8) Has strong emotional reactions to books.
9) Wants to talk about his/her reading.
10) Plans for a reading "future," can talk about books he/she plans to read, keeps a list of books to read
11) Asks to borrow books from me, or visit the library or bookstore.
12) Brings books to share with others, e.g. significant adults or friends.
13) Takes books home whether or not they HAVE to, or reads longer than they have to.
14) Enjoys read aloud time.

I'd love to start a conversation or hear other people's thoughts on this topic.


Mary Lee said...

I'm thinking of printing out your list and giving it to my students so they can evaluate themselves (maybe on a 1-5 scale) on these attitudes/behaviors. Maybe when they know what we're looking for, they'll be better able to work toward that? (interesting connection to Katie's post at Creative Literacy on a conference she had with a first grade writer who has made lots of progress this year but didn't have the language to describe it)

Laura Lynn Benson said...

Isn't engagement the best of all "tests?" Why don't we just look for the dispositions and behaviors you thoughfully outline for our "state test?" Your words make me think of Frank Smith quote you and I have often shared with colleagues: "A truly literate person not only can read but chooses to read."
Cheering you on from Cairo!

Katie Dicesare said...

Your post hits home. Loving to read and feeling like a reader are two huge areas of identity I am trying to help my students discover. I loved this list of engagement. I can't help but think of choice and scaffolding choice as another piece of engagement for the kids in my room. Also, to tag on what Mary Lee's ideas (loved her idea to use your list by the way), kids need discussion about what engagement looks like and feels like.