Susan Norwood Guest Blogs today:
We teachers have all heard that horrible cliché “A teacher on his/her feet is worth 4 on his/her seat,” meaning that you should never be seated, but constantly at the ready. You should be prowling about the room, er… I mean monitoring and facilitating. This isn’t realistic, and it encourages students to be needy rather than independent.
What does this have to do with books? SSR enables students to work and think independently. It encourages sustained concentration and builds reading stamina. Actually, I began SSR in my classroom, because it was the only way to get some kids to behave appropriately in class. The more interesting the reading material, the fewer off-topic conversation, notes to friends, small items being tossed across the room, numerous trips to the pencil sharpener, trash can, etc. Plus, my walking about the room annoys some of them.
My sure-fire materials to calm the wildest of children include the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not series, the Guinness Book of World Records, graphic novels, and magazines. Seriously, every kid loves magazines. I divide my classroom mags into the following genres: Cars, General Sports, Basketball, Chicks, and Entertainment. Kids read them until they gradually decompose (the mags, not the kids).
Do I want my students to read books? Yes I do. But it is certainly good to see a reluctant reader pick up something to read. Today I actually had to fuss at my students for continuing to read their self-selected material, so we could start a story in the literature textbook. I feel guilty at not being as far along in the text as other teachers, but at least the kids are reading!
You can email Susan at susan dot norwood at mnps dot org