8 September 2013

Inspiring a Reading Community

I have started this year with a commitment to develop literacy through reading and writing. I dedicate the start of every lesson to ten minutes silent reading. Sometimes I listen to the learners read, sometimes I ask them to tell me about their reading.

After each session, learners complete a reading log. They summarise or ask questions, predict or write about how they reading made them feel. Sometimes I ask them to talk about their reading with a partner or small group. Sometimes we share reading as a class.

We use Edmodo as a learning portal, and I am amazed at the sharing that has been going on about books. My Year 7 class in particular are constantly writing on Edmodo to each other about the books they are reading or making recommendations.

I have also set up a Reading Buddy programme. In the first week of the academic year, I asked all my classes to write to me about things they would like to do in English this year. My Year 7s asked to read with primary learners.
I approached the Head of Primary who announced the proposal in a meeting and, two weeks later, our programme was launched.

Learners completed a Reading Buddy Google Survey stating their interests and favourite books. I worked with the Year 4 teacher to match up learners based on this information as well as on ability, gender and personality.

My learners visited the library to look at suitable texts for the level of their learners. I gave them a Reading Buddy Guide and they practised with each other. They prepared flash cards, work sheets and activities to help their buddy. They were fabulous.

We met in the library on Wednesday and they went off in their pairs - and it was wonderful. There are so many diverse learners from so many countries with so many different abilities and different needs. Yet, for 30 minutes, they all sat and they all read and they all smiled. I think - I hope- they all learned something too - about themselves as a reader, learner or teacher.

They complete a log of what they do each week, as well as a record of words they notice their buddy struggling with. They use this information to plan for the next session.

We plan to meet each week and evaluate at the end of the term. If successful, we will roll the programme out to the rest of the school and ask Year 7 to train up new buddies.

One small step closer to a reading community...

Read about my Spilling Ink adventures in writing.

Take a look at http://www.keenreaders.org/reading-buddy-programs/how-to-start-one