I mentioned in a meeting one day that I was incorporating a daily time for my students to read. And I was questioned. And told that there just isn't enough time for "just reading". I brought up the research. I brought up the book. I did all I could. But in the end, I had to let it go.
I knew it wasn't right. And I knew my kids would love to read if they were just allowed. But I let it go for a while. Until just recently.
A couple weeks ago, I decided to bust out the Read to Self time. I taught my students what it meant to build up stamina. We talked about the people that go to the gym and how they have to work up to lifting 300lbs. And then we had our first go at it. Everyone got their books, found a spot, and started reading.
And after 35 seconds, we were done. 35 SECONDS. Folks I was defeated. I thought this was going to be awful. I told them we had to stop and I actually heard groans. Ok... maybe, just maybe, they will get it together. The next day they did pretty good and made it to 9 minutes even with interruptions and people knocking on the door. The third day, I hung this sign on the door.
Within 4 days we were surpassing 20 minutes! And when time has to stop, they groan! In fact, when the announcement was made that it was our turn to go to the sockhop, they actually were upset that their reading time had to end!
And I can assure you these kids are reading. How do I know? They are laughing as they read their books! They are so focused they don't even realize someone is at the door, or that I dropped a million things on the floor, or that someone sneezed. All things that usually take their attention away from the task at hand. But not when they are reading. I have been amazed. It might help that we just got this amazing library from Donor's Choose!
And then... the ultimate proof. I sent home Scholastic book orders last week. I send these home every single month. And most times I either get no kids buying books or I get one or two and we are struggling to have $20 so we get free shipping (which usually results in me adding to the order). This month...
my order was over $120! That, my friends, is a lot of money in books. And the kids are asking me every single day "When are the books coming in??" "When will the books be here?" "You said by next Friday right?" Never have my children been THIS excited about books. (A few of them snagged Charlotte's Web for a dollar this month too after I told them what a steal this was!)
Every single day they ask, "are we going to get time to read today?"... and THAT alone tells me that what I thought all along and felt in my heart... it was right. And maybe, hopefully, it will help them improve their reading scores. But in the end, what really matters to me is that I am developing these children into readers. And I couldn't be happier!