How important is reading? Simply stated, it is the most important activity that you can do during your school career. It is the key to success in all subjects because personal reading promotes a wide range of skills and dispositions that enhance learning across all subjects. At ISM, the expectation is that every student pursues a consistent reading program outside of homework time every evening. As an engaged grade 8 student, you should be read at least 30 minutes every night, and this includes both in English and your home language.
Tips to start and maintain a good reading program at home:
Make it a habit by doing it at the same time every evening: Reading is not a punishment or a chore; it is a natural habit that you just do, no matter what else is going on in your life. Choose a time and stick to it. One night’s reading will not make a difference because it takes time and consistency for change to happen.
Find the right place to read: You need a good light, a comfortable place, and an upright position. Lying on your bed or in front of the TV doesn’t make for good reading; find the perfect place that promotes focused and active reading.
Do it with your family: A family that reads together… has something to talk about. Parents who read with their children are setting a good example by showing that reading is important to everyone, and not just students. It is enjoyable and worthy of being part of a full family’s routines.
Turn off those pesky computers, phones, TVs, and radios: Active reading needs concentration; you should not be interrupted by calls, texts, favorite TV shows or on-line surfing. Turn your devices off, move to a quiet place, and focus on the act of reading because it deserves your exclusive time.
Read to each other: Young children love to be read to, and just because you are older doesn’t mean that you should not practice it. Reading aloud to people improves oral fluency and can generate great conversation. Students can read to parents and vice versa; you are never too old to have a story read to you.
Talk about what you read: Discussion and reflection are keys to fulfilling reading. Talking about what you have read allows you to make inferences and connections, and to better understand a text. Discussion and reflection allow for socially constructed learning and deeper thinking. It is also an enjoyable part of the full experience of reading.
15 Points to a Good Reader
(As compiled by Carrie Ekey, literacy specialist and consultant for the Colorado Writing Project)
Research says that good readers…
1. Enjoy reading, read often, and read a wide variety of genres to meet multiple purposes.
2. Successfully select texts that match their reading levels, interests, and purposes.
3. Are confident about their ability to read, are aware of their strengths as readers, and are goal-directed.
4. Read appropriately leveled texts with a high level of accuracy, monitor meaning, and use fix-up strategies to quickly self-correct miscues that interfere with meaning.
5. Read quickly in longer, meaningful phrases with effective expression.
6. Review texts by making predictions about what is likely to happen or identifying topics and information that may be included.
7. Ask themselves questions prior to and during the reading of a text.
8. Uses text features (e.g. charts, graphs, headings) and graphic organizers.
9. Comprehend what they read (silently and orally) and are able to use their own language and key vocabulary from the text to identify and organize important information into an adept written summary.
10. Understand what is explicitly stated in the text.
11. Interpret what they read by making inferences and making connections.
12. Support their responses (inferences and connections) with information from the text.
13. Reflect and determine significance, and/or evaluate what they read.
14. Support their responses with reasons, and personal or text examples.
15. Are aware of the strategies they use to construct and monitor meaning while reading.