Thomas Bean’s “Making Reading Relevant for Adolescents.”
3 Main ideas that positively and lastingly impact student learning.
- “Recreational reading can help adolescents achieve in school but teachers must provide students with books that address the curriculum and meet their needs and interests.”
When teachers show students that books aren’t a torture device they open up a life long skill and hopefully hobby. When students start to explore reading on their own time they probably don’t realize that they’re still learning and growing. They can bring ideas they read about into the classroom across disciplines. Besides finding a new interest, students are building knowledge and skills they can use in and out of the school setting. As they read, they get faster, learn new words, getting better at comprehension, are exposed to many ideas and perspectives, and even get a more natural sense for spelling and grammar which will help with writing skills.
- “Time spent reading correlates with academic success, vocabulary development, standardized test performance, attitudes towards additional reading and the development of a world knowledge.”
This quote reiterates a lot of what I said above. Basically, when kids develop a love for reading, they’re doing everyone a favor. Teachers will see better results in school work and test scores, students will be learning many new things and possibly new gaining new interests, and the world gains more knowledgable and responsible citizens.
- “Quite time for extended reading and time for talking about books are both crucial elements in incorporating young adult novels into the classroom.”
I think many teachers make the mistake of not giving students reading time in class. I know it takes up a lot of valuable class time, but how can we expect kids to want to read if they never have time to do so? Many kids have responsibilities after school like ball practice, cleaning and other chores, taking care of family members, jobs, volunteer work, and of course homework. With schedules like that it’s very plausible to think that a kid doesn’t have much time for reading, and if they did, they’d probably just want to spend it with friends or simply relaxing. In a class that is so focused around reading, students deserve at least one day during the week to read in class for a half hour or so.
2 specific points that are critical to establishing positive student engagement on the learning process.
- “Students said that time to read and captivating material that reflected and suited their interests were important elements for motivating them to read, but that they did not view the classroom as a source of good reading materials.”
I think this is a big problem! A class centered around reading and writing and kids don’t think they can find good books from classrooms? It’s always been my plan to have a class bookshelf with many options to choose from. Though I believe the classics are very important, I definitely believe that YA literature has a significant place in the classroom. The classics are classics for a reason but it isn’t because they’re easy for a fifteen year old to relate to. Students an see parallels to their own lives through YA lit that they usually cannot find in texts that may be hundreds of years old so, naturally these books would be a little more interesting or at least easier to understand. So many teachers are frustrated by the feeling that their students never really “get it” and I believe that’s because often times they simply don’t get it. How can we ask 9th graders to have an in-depth discussion about Shakespearean sonnets if they can’t understand the language much less what’s actually happening in the text.
- “Literature response journals give students a foundation for discussing novels that are connected to content area concepts or are a part of a sustained reading program.”
I am a huge fan of student journals. It gives kids time to interact with the ideas they’re absorbing and record them before they’ve heard anyone else’s opinions. When I was in school, I often had 9286543 things going on in my head at any given time, which could make focusing a difficult task. When I had time to write down my thoughts and reactions about what I was reading or doing it made that a much easier thing to do. I could flesh out my ideas more on paper. It always seemed like as soon as I started writing, ideas would come flooding through my brain faster than I could write them down.
1 most important aspect that surprised me related to teaching and learning.
- “Recreational reading among adolescents is in decline with serious consequences for the development of a literate citizenry.”
This is such a shocking fact to me because I’ve always been such an avid reader. From the time I learned to read, I’ve blazed through just about anything I could get my hands on, in or out of school. Reading is such an easy pleasure and I’ve never really understand anyone who couldn’t enjoy a good book or magazine.