After last week’s Maine Literacy Council Fall Book Bonanza I had a longer list of TBR (to be read) books and an eagerness to dive into some of those new titles as soon as possible. I love being a part of reading celebrations and sharing that sense of community with other readers.
One of the activities we did, was to create a grafitti wall where teachers could share new or favorite titles and a wall where they shared ideas for building a community of readers in their classrooms. Some teachers shared ideas for encouraging reading with their students.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit these last few years about increasing the volume of reading in our students’ lives. At our schools we have hosted 25 Book Challenge (for half a year), 40 Book Challenge (for the full year) as well as Summer Reading Challenges (Summer Kids), Maine Student Book Award Challenges, and classroom reading incentives. The goal for all of these has been to encourage volume reading. Much has been written on the importance of high volume reading to foster fluency, increase vocabulary, deepen comprehension and expand a students’ world view. I don’t think I could find an educator who would dispute the importance of increasing the reading that most of our students do.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of high volume writing. As with any skill, the more you do it, the more opportunity you have to grow and become stronger. Again, I don’t think any teachers would argue that more writing wouldn’t be a good thing for our students. So where are the challenges and incentives to help us promote a greater volume of writing from our students? Where are the studies that analyze its effects on student learning and skills? Where are the tips for encouraging students to engage in more writing?
I’m not sure we need to wait for someone to conduct a study or promote a product to help us encourage more writing from our students. I guess we just need to put it on our radar and look for those opportunities and create those supports. So maybe we can share our thinking, ideas, and approaches for increasing the volume of writing in our classrooms and in our students’ lives. Let me know what you are thinking? Let me know what you are trying. I’ll do the same.
How are YOU promoting volume writing in your schools?
WHAT’S ON MY BOOK RADAR?
One way to promote more writing, might be to introduce books that kids may want to try versions of their own. This collection of biographies by Brad Meltzer just might be a good choice. The message in this series of books is that we can all be heroes. He show us this by revealing the childhood lives of some very famous people. They weren’t always heroes, they were first kids, just like our students. They stretched their thinking, made good choices and weren’t afraid to take chances.