I remember sitting at the ILA conference (then it was IRA) in 2009, listening to Douglas Reeves talk about literacy research findings. He got all excited and leaned forward, looking right into the faces of the crowd of participants, and said, “[after years of research]…do you know what we found?”
We all looked at one another, and then fixed our eyes back on him. We wanted to know! He gave us the results: “The more you read, the better reader you become.” We looked at each other again. I said out loud, “That’s it? We knew that!”
In my opinion, many people, even in the field of education, do not seem to know that yet. It’s always been a wonder to me that a literacy focus in high-achieving schools allows students to have a better grasp, a better focus, higher achievement, than those schools who don’t offer wide reading opportunities. I read quite a bit, and I still struggle with vocabulary and fluency, so I cannot imagine how awful it would be for struggling readers who don’t have the skills needed to succeed.
As I plan for next school year, I renew my pledge to read in class every day, and allow my students to read, too. I don’t mean teach a lesson on comprehension strategies or give a list of vocabulary words for the week. I mean READ. Every. Day. That’s what students need. Students want to read. Students want to learn. Students want to succeed. And they can, IF they are provided every opportunity to read, learn, and succeed.
Read. Every Day. It’s that simple.
“The more that you read, the more things you’ll know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” — Dr. Seuss