Description: This student has real reading challenges with print. He/she struggles to decode and lacks reading fluency, and therefore, this student hates to read period. They refuse books no…matter…what!
Motivation: This is the student that needs books on tape, a kindle with the read aloud option, or a reading partner to help them with on-grade level text. They need high interest, low level books such as graphic novels or books with picture support. They do not want to read “baby books”, so nonfiction at their level may be a good match since it looks older. This would be your tier 3 student who needs much more teacher time.
THE FAKE READER
Description: This student loves to make others think they are reading. They carry around books and pretend to read, but do nothing. This student is capable, but unmotivated and does not see the purpose in reading. During DEAR time, this is the social butterfly who avoids reading by talking, going to the bathroom, or abandoning books.
Motivation: This student needs accountability and teacher direction. Teachers can take this reader and convert him/her with a reading partner or by regular reading conferences. This student needs a reading log to record the page they are on each day and a teacher who will check it. If the student gets hooked on a book, you’ll be fine. Finding a great reading series for this student may be the ticket.
THE WORD CALLING READER
Description: This student reads fluently and will rip through books, but won’t remember a bit of it. He/she focuses on words only. This student may struggle with attention in class too.
Motivation: This student needs to buy in to the book he/she is reading. They need to be emotionally invested, and they need comprehension work to address the meaning. He/she benefits by keeping a journal or note-taking bookmarks with them as they read. In the classroom, this student would benefit from Close Reading procedures and work with text structures. Conferencing with this student, even briefly, may help them keep on task with what’s happening. For this student, reading a series may help off-load the need to “learn” new characters.
THE AS NEEDED READER
Description: This student reads only what is needed for school. He/she enjoys other things, and would not choose to read on his/her own. This student reads without issue, but just doesn’t enjoy it.
Motivation: Matching this reader to text is critical. This student *needs* to see the value of reading for fun, and to do that, book choice is the ticket. Books with a strong plot will help this kid *want* to read more. Great authors like Gary Paulsen, Anthony Horowitz, Gordan Korman, Kate DiCamillo, Sharon Creech, or Kathryn Lasky. Learn what this student does outside of school, and match the books to those interests. Set goals for this kid to reach. Some kids love bets or challenges. Group goals may work well too since many kids like watching the thermometer rise or reading pot fill.
THE VORACIOUS READER
Description: This kid just wants to be left alone. He/she wants to read what they want to read. He/she does not want your help, and they don’t need it. They learn despite the teacher and just need the teacher out of the way. He/she may resist required reading. This student hides his/her book in textbooks and always has a nose in a book during down time.
Motivation: With this student, motivation is not needed. This student needs the teacher to leave him/her alone. If a book is required, this student may need reminders to complete it because he/she will have multiple books going. Required reading won’t be first on this student’s list.
You have analyzed your students and feel like you know their interests. Now what??
1. Make Time for Independent Reading
2. Set Reading Goals
3. Build Reader/Teacher/Parent Relationships
4. Use sites like Good Reads and Amazon to find what is popular
5. This is more for upper elementary/middle school…YA lit needs to be a little edgy and controversial because kids at this age want to talk about the issues
Keep this in mind, and try to get over it. I’m not saying anything goes here. We, as parents and teachers, do need to keep on top of the content to make sure it is appropriate for our age group, but we also need to understand where our kids are and what they can handle. YA lit is for ages 12-18, and what’s appropriate for an 18 year old is not for a 12 year old. Using sites like parentalbookreviews.com or talking to librarians will help give you an idea about the books, but if you are unsure, read the book with your child/student. As a teacher, I would recommend reading the book with your child because then you can talk about it (if your child wants to).
6. Give kids time to talk about what they’re reading with each other
Let the kids have a space in the classroom to recommend books to each other. A “graffiti wall” is a great idea. Having a book talk time each week allows kids the opportunity to share briefly a snapshot of the book and helps the kids learn about new authors. It also weaves in accountability (You can not talk about what you haven’t read.)
7. Use read aloud time to introduce books to kids
Share the introductions to books or exciting scenes as mentor texts for writing lessons or comprehension lessons to help expose kids to new books. Reading aloud to kids is important too for building vocabulary and to help struggling readers get access to great literature. Choose a variety of genres and authors to mix it up too.
Do you have suggestions on this topic? I would love to hear them.