Silent Reading

Discussion in 'General Education' started by readingrules12, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I have for many years have had Silent Reading for about 15 minutes each day. In general it has worked well in grades 3, 4, and 5 which I have taught. We had a presenter at an inservice who said that we should have students write each day about what they read in Silent Reading otherwise how do we know if they are reading? To me, that would seem to kill the joy of Silent Reading, so I am not so sure of this idea.

    I was wondering do you do anything to keep your students accountable in Silent Reading or to increase the probability that they will read during this time? Most of my students do read during Silent Reading so it isn't a big problem, just wondering if I should try to improve on this at all.
     
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  3. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    When I had students do silent reading (about 10-15 minutes every day) I created a guide for them, questions they had to answer. they could only answer if they read, and it did help them understand the novel better.

    If I didn't do it, some of my students would have sat there, and pretended that they read. This way it was measurable.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We are required to have a "reading log center" and students spend the majority of the time reading and then maybe 2-3 minutes writing about what they read. I think it doesn't really help prove that they are reading, because they only have time to write maybe two sentences. If they know anything at all about the book, they can write a sentence or two about it in a very general way. On the other hand, we just don't have time during reading class to write entire paragraphs about the book, and I feel like requiring that much would make it seem tedious. My kids that like reading and are skilled enough to read chapter books love the reading log center. Those that don't I'm pretty sure are just sitting there turning pages. If it were up to me I'd have them doing something else.
     
  5. FT2012

    FT2012 Rookie

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    I teach 4th grade (1st year) and my school insists that this happens. My students use post-it notes to write down important pieces of information (character, setting, problem, solution, main idea for nonfiction) or to create opinions on their reading (a surprising event, a question they have, an interesting fact, etc). The students then place these post-it notes in their reading journals under the heading for that book; when they finish reading they can create a summary of the book with help from their post-its.

    As a 1st year teacher, I struggle with this idea because I have not read every single book in my classroom library and I often wonder if my students are summarizing their books accurately. I also love the idea of just having the students read silently for a period of time, but my P wants constant accountablity from teachers and students.
     
  6. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I agree that writing about SR could kill some of the joy, but to me the bigger loss is the time it takes for students to write (when they could be reading) and you to respond to their writing.

    It's pretty clear who is reading and who isn't. Your weaker readers will check out a non-fiction book about airplanes and just look at the pictures. They don't know the feeling of getting meaning from text and getting lost in a story. Students need to check with me before I'll let them reading non-fiction or comic-style books during SR.

    You need to make sure these students actually read and not just look at pictures. I do this by observing these target students and reading with them to get them into a book or having a buddy or volunteer read with them to make sure they spend the time processing words.
     
  7. bison

    bison Habitué

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    There's a peer-reviewed article called Facilitating Engagement by Differentiating Independent Reading by Kelley and Clausen-Grace that addresses this perfectly, but I can't find the full text online. Maybe someone has access to it? It's from The Reading Teacher journal. I'm thinking of subscribing to International Reading Association specifically to have access to useful resources like this.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think the issue with silent reading accountability is one of the two major issues with silent reading, the first being loss of instructional time when a teacher could engage in more active instruction. But, if your sense is that kids are both being compliant with silent reading and benefiting from it, accountability is probably not an issue.

    On the other hand, if accountability is an issue, I'd suggest dropping silent reading altogether. In that situation kids clearly aren't motivated to read independently, and proving reading occurred would be more trouble than its worth. All of this on top of the issue that silent reading just eats up already limited class time.
     
  9. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    My kids read during centers - the read to self center. (I do a modified Daily 5). I did not set this up as well as I could have this year - I want to be more strictly Daily 5 next year. (Building up stamina, choosing just right books, etc.) I am absolutely positive that the majority of my students are reading, because I hear them doing it. (They whisper read - this is first grade.) I do have a few struggling students who can't read a lot of the books they choose, but they usually balance those out with easier books they can read.

    In first grade, I just want them to have access to books. I teach in a low income community and many of my students do not have their own books at home (though some do! Don't want to overgeneralize.) I want them to learn to love books, appreciate books, and experience books. I have spent hundreds of dollars building a classroom library from scratch this year because it is SO important to me that my kids get to experience all kinds of books as they are becoming budding readers. I do not consider read to self time to be a waste at all.

    I am going to start doing some book club type set ups with some of my higher readers to increase comprehension practice. They will have some sheets to fill out with those books. But I don't want to take away their reading for pleasure time. I don't want reading to always feel like a school assignment for them. I was a voracious reader as a kid and I really think I would have hated having to write about everything I read - it would have felt like it was work all the time instead of reading for fun.

    HOWEVER, I am in first grade. I will readily admit that things are a lot different down here than they are in upper elementary. That's why I love it here. :)
     
  10. EMonkey

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    I know I would have been seriously annoyed in grade school if I was required to write down what I read every day during silent reading time. It sounds to me like a sad statement of distrust that people, first, think the teachers are not aware of who is and isn't reading and a sad statement of general distrust of the children. If the teacher in a classroom wanted to do it then it would be based on her/his student's needs coming from above it is a lack of trust that children in general will want to read.

    Anyway, I agree with EdEd.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

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    The Book Whisperer really opened my eyes to how much we kill the passion for reading in kids and how important actually giving them time to read is. It's 15 minutes-would it really be harmful if they weren't really reading at this time? I think it's sad we are always asking kids to read to answer questions instead of just reading to read for the enjoyment of it.
     
  12. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    When I taught 5th grade, we built up their reading stamina. We started at 10 minutes of reading, and like 4 minutes of writing. We'd end the year at 30 minutes of reading and 10 minutes of writing.
    I would write messages back to them in their response journal, so they were excited to see what I'd written. It made them a little more excited.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I would always take a status of the class to ensure that students were reading. By asking what page they were on, I could get a quick picture of who was reading and who wasn't. The students who were reading, I would move to a once a week check. This helped me to spend less time taking a status of the class.

    I would have students respond to their reading once or twice a week. The students would either write to me weekly or every other week. They could then also write a letter to a friend once a week. This helped to have them reading most of the time but also opened up the conversation about reading with myself and their peers.
     
  14. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree. I thi the idea is they have choice ofwhat they read (this iz going to increase their chances of actually reading during that time too) and they arenspending time with boos during that time. I have a boy who sometimes just turns the pages without reading but sometimes actually reads (he has ADHD). This boy is reading more than he would if we didn't spend that time reading. I do the Daily 5 so my kiddos are avtually getting a lot of time reading to self and with a partner. Having to report about it would kill the love for it I think. That's not to say never write a reprt but I don't thik it's necessary, nor beneficial for their silent reading time.
     
  15. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I like these ideas. They seem less intrusive and more friendly ways to keep kids enjoying reading time. The way I am understanding this is that diffent kids are being asked at different times.
     
  16. Tyler B.

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    Ed! Dropping silent reading? It's the only time in the day that some students practice their reading skills. SR is absolutely critical for students in low income homes where a quiet reading place is not available.

    Several years ago a teacher transferred to our low SES school from middle school social studies. His only reading program was story time and silent reading. His class outscored everyone else. He said his goal was to create lifelong readers and apparently he did. He said his sixth graders were reading an average of 5,000 words a day.
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    If anything our kids need more time reading. If you get a chance check out this youtube video from Stephen Krashen on the power of reading. Good stuff. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=DSW7gmvDLag
     
  18. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I will never get rid of silent reading. We implemented it this year with great success. A lot of students told me that this year (8th grade) was the first year that they've ever read a book, by themselves, cover to cover. There is so much research out there that says that reading is the best way to increase vocabulary and reinforce reading strategies that are learned in school. To me, it's absolutely a wonderful use of time.

    At first, there were some growing pains. The kids didn't know what books to choose, and they were off-task during silent reading time. Once we implemented a clear schedule (every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 15 minutes) and taught them how to choose their "just right" text, things ran a lot more smoothly. Now, you can hear a pin drop during silent reading time. Is every single kid on task for every single minute? Of course not. But I've seen so much growth in them from the beginning of the year, I know it's benefiting them to be reading.

    We do a book report every nine weeks to keep them accountable. It's a simple 5 minute presentation, and we give them "talking points" on what they should cover. Most students do this assignment and do well on it. We also give class participation points for silent reading.
     
  19. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I agree with this. Reading is the best thing they could be doing. It's just so important. We need to find ways of adding more time for reading, not getting rid of it. I think it's also important to have books readily accessible to students that deal with topics being learned in class. There is so much accidental learning that takes place, but by providing books on specific topics (and having a location for these books so students know where to find them) they are not only reading and learning, but can be learning more than what we can even teach.
     
  20. teacherguy111

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    I have my kids read probably 15-20 mins a day. I dont have them write anything about what they read. I also teach a very extensive reading program for 1.5 hours each day. So they get their real reading skills from the program... for example setting, author's purpose, plot, character etc.
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    It's funny Tyler I think we agree on most everything else but this topic :). As I've probably said before, I'm not against silent reading specifically, but my experience has been that struggling readers need explicit instruction, which is specifically not silent reading. I would love both, but given a choice between explicit instruction and silent reading, I'd chose explicit instruction.

    In terms of your teacher transferring in, that experience is just not supported by any literature/research out there. The massive failure of the whole language movement a few decades ago is pretty solid evidence that simply allowing kids to explore reading is not enough, a finding which has been backed up by pretty much every study investigating the topic since.

    Again, I fully support paying attention to motivational issues, and I'm a big fan of constructivist/explorative learning modalities as well as project-based learning, but beginning reading is just not one of those topic areas.

    All of that being said, if a teacher is running a centers/small group reading format during the reading block, I think silent reading wouldn't be the worst choice IF the teacher was confident that children were actively engaging in that reading. My experience has been that, often times, struggling learners are less engaged in silent reading because it isn't fluent, takes a lot of effort and struggle, and therefore not really fun. Given the cumbersome task of trying to "prove" silent reading occurred, you're looking at 25 minutes plus in terms of instructional time just to get 15 minutes of silent reading in. Could it work? Yes. Is it a recommended or best practice given other options? Not in my experience.
     
  22. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Dr. Krashen is in the extreme minority in terms of academics/researchers giving advice. Most folks have not come to the same conclusions as he has, at least not in terms of prioritizing interventions. The bulk of research I've read does not support his viewpoints.
     
  23. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I see your point of explicit instruction, because I agree there are some students who really need that. Especially the students who are struggling. However, I take a very balanced approach to it. I think there needs to be some explicit instruction, coupled with free-choice reading. I don't think one component without the other would be successful. Regarding Krashen, his arguments are based on studies and not just formulated from nothing.
     
  24. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I would suggest something more along the lines of CAFE/Daily 5... the kids do not have to produce anything during silent reading, but you will be conferencing with them, which keeps them accountable. I would venture a guess that this would also solve the problem that EdEd has with silent reading, because explicit instruction is given through conferences with students. I've always found this is the way to keep readers accountable without taking the fun out of it.
     
  25. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I do D5 and love it!
     
  26. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I think there are many classrooms where a balanced approach may work, but I think sometimes we attach worth to strategies because of values rather than evidence. I think we have come to like the idea of "balanced" as educators because we also value things like including all people and not leaving any good parts out. However, I'm not sure our value of balanced necessarily carries over into all classrooms experiences. For example, if you have a group of students that are extremely behind and need a lot of intensive instruction, balanced instruction may not be appropriate because they may need a higher dose of phonics or phonemic awareness, for example, to make appropriate progress. I do think motivation and engagement is important, but I think there are ways to do that even in the context of explicit instruction.

    So, I'm not against "balanced" per se, but I don't think we should be wed to values or strategies as a default in our practice. I think we should look at what kids need, and go from there. Sometimes that might be balanced, sometimes not.

    In terms of Dr. Krashen, it's not that he has no strategies based in research, but I believe the relative weight he gives certain strategies is not based on research. For example, in his "extensive/free reading" model/strategy, the idea is that the more you read in an independent setting, the better that will be. For struggling readers - particularly without foundations of phonemic awareness and phonics - that's not necessarily beneficial, and it certainly shouldn't form the foundation of a struggling reader's instructional experience.

    More specifically, despite the somewhat complex linguistic and neurocognitive rationales he presents for free reading, the strategy essentially boils down to a whole language approach, or a self-directed, explorative, constructivist viewpoint towards beginning reading. I have yet to see a study that compares that approach with an explicit, direct instruction approach and yields results that favor the free reading approach for struggling readers.

    Put another way, there are many pathways that a child can learn to read, so it's easy to find evidence that a child can benefit from a particular strategy, as kids tend to be fairly adaptive. So, again, for a general education environment with a low percentage of struggling readers, I can see free reading as being a potential choice in a balanced approach. However, for struggling readers (or a class with a higher percentage of struggling readers), I have not seen evidence that an instructional approach based in free reading is more advantageous than one based in explicit instruction.
     
  27. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I can agree that we need to look at the learning needs of our students. I will be taking on the "low" group next year who will need a lot more skill and drill than I have done in the past. However, I will be taking a balanced approach with them. Just because they need more intense and yes, explicit instruction, does not mean I should cut out read alouds, or shared reading, or even silent reading. They can still work on their level and read and write at their level. In my opinion, it's also important that we allow them the opportunity to learn to love books but if we do not do that now, then when? This is a hot topic, as you are well aware, so we won't be able to persuade each other either way, but I am a big proponent of providing quality instruction (mind you I mean instruction of all types, not always "direct" instruction) in a meaningful and relevant way. If it was all skill and drill then where's room for the "meaty" part of the learning? I think learning is best done when it is active, meaningful, and real-world. Yes, I can do that even a first grade classroom where everything we do ties into our big ideas. I am not opposed to explicit instruction, I do that everyday within my mini-lessons. But certainly one cannot master these things until given ample time to manipulate and work with it on one's own. This is where I think silent reading becomes so important (and in my class it's not even silent reading; the kids read out loud, or with partners and discuss their reading too. It's a very rich experience).
     
  28. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Will respond in pieces below, but yes - it definitely is one of those issues that has had a lot of controversy. I'm not sure that we won't be able to find common ground though :)

    I'd say it's all a matter of time. If you have the time to deliver the most needed instruction and have time left over, and still show progress, I think that definitely works. I also think read alouds and shared reading are different from silent reading, and can very much be a part of an explicit approach.

    Agreed, but if there are only so many minutes the day and I'd be forced to chose, I'd rather have child be able to read, but not love, than love reading but not really be able to do it.

    I also think part of loving to read comes from being able to do it well.

    I think it's important to see that basic skills are the foundation for that meat - that basic skills make the meat possible. I know that you know this, so I'm not trying to preach to the choir, but I see this argument all too often in public discussions now - that poor kids deserve rich instruction, not just rote training. The problem with that argument is that kids can't read intricate articles without phonics, and can't analyze arguments without basic vocab training. No one thinks that phonics are all the matters - it's just a gateway to more in-depth learning.

    I absolutely agree with you that "real-world" is important along with meaningful, but I don't think every lesson needs to be connected to a real world scenario. I think some things can be fun, engaging, and active without a real world connection. For example, writing letters in sand trays is an example of a multi-sensory phonics activity. It can be very fun, engaging, and active but still rooted in direct, explicit instruction.

    I definitely agree that application and active manipulation are important, but there are many opportunities kids have across the day for application without needing to invest in silent reading for that opportunity. For example, many activities in math, science, and social studies involve reading, and provide excellent opportunities in that department.

    Overall, I would bet that if we were to sit down and plan out a reading/ELA instructional block, we'd probably find ourselves in a lot of agreement. It sounds like our only point of disagreement is how much we'd insist on including silent reading. I've used it before personally, but have not insisted on its presence when pressed for time.
     
  29. Emily Bronte

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    I have and have not had students do an activity related to silent reading. It has been journaling most of the time.
     
  30. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    EdEd, yes I am starting to think we have more similar views than different. I was coming to that conclusion when I noticed, near the end of your post, that you seem to think the same as well. I do explicit instruction, though this happens in form of mini-lessons and within small groups. My kids also do word work as one of their Daily 5 rotations. Two rotations are read to self and partner read, and of course I put great importance in that time they spend reading, but that doesn't lessen the importance of everything else we are doing. Like you said, not every lesson is "real-world" because there is some skill and drill involved but I like the majority of what we do to be real-world relevant. So it does seem more that our biggest difference of opinion lies within how much silent reading our kids are doing and of course I think the more they are reading of their own choice and level, the better.
     
  31. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Ah, consensus! At least a bit :).
     
  32. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Yes!
     
  33. JustMe

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    A couple times a week students had to complete a short and somewhat enjoyable activity based on their independent reading. I didn't require daily writing, but sometimes writing would be in order to connect, question, evaluate, and so forth. Even in middle school I set aside fifteen minutes from each fifty minute class for independent reading and wouldn't have considered eliminating it.
     
  34. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    KinderCowGirl--Excellent points--thank you for those. The Book Whisperer is an excellent book and should be read by all teachers.
     
  35. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I really appreciate these thoughtful and reflective replies on silent reading. I do know I will not abandon it. I have too many students who I have seen get so much out of silent reading.

    Mopar you give some good strategies in ways to hold students a bit accountable without being overbearing. I like your ideas, and I might try something similar.

    Thank you to all for all your help. :)
     
  36. Tyler B.

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    This runs counter to what I've been learning. Krashen is attacked by the publishers of reading programs because his research threatens a skill-based approach, perhaps that's what you've been seeing.

    My complaint with Krashen is that much of his data is older. In that video clip, he sited some new, fresh studies, but I haven't had a chance to look them up.
     
  37. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Tyler I haven't seen any opposition from publishers, and really haven't read anything specifically against Krashen specifically, but my understanding of the literature doesn't support him. Do you have any sources/links from what you've read that have compared his approach with an explicit, direct instruction based approach that favor his approach?
     
  38. MissApple

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    Is this it?

    http://shorelinelibrarians.pbworks.com/w/file/fetch/54731377/Differentiating_Independent_Reading.pdf
     

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