Within the 2nd chapter there is this fantastic table about the time 5th graders spend reading and how they percentile score on standardized testing. Friends, I know that we do not teach so students do well on standardized testing, but fostering a community of readers does foster successful test-takers. Over and over, research proves that the greater access to words students have the better they will perform.
When I taught 5th grade, I shared this chart with my 5th graders, and they were shocked! Even in 1st grade, I tell my kids all the time, “Words have power! The more time you spend reading, the more words you have access to, the larger your world becomes.” Now, I show parents this chart at Open House when I encourage them to build an at-home reading routine. I don’t think my pleas for “Please read at home” becomes ‘real’ until I show them this chart. The idea that reading 20 minutes a day alone gives students access to 1.8 million words and puts them in the 90th percentile of 5th grade students [one day] BLOWS THEM AWAY! Honestly, it does me too. Every time I look at this chart, I say to myself, “YOU MUST MAKE MORE TIME FOR DAILY READING IN CLASS!!!!”
I believe that time spent reading and writing together builds a community in which students are invested in one another. When friends sit down together working separately but knowing they can turn to a friends for help spelling a word or an idea for a transition word, there is safety. Students know they can trust one another and they know their ideas matter. When we sit and read as a class, we have a new common ground. Anytime we see a bird outside on the playground, we wonder if it is Mo Willems’ pigeon. After reading The Day the Crayons Quit, we giggle when we see a peach crayon being used. 😉 Time spent reading and writing, builds a community of learners.
Friends, I know this post has been scattered, but these are the foundations for the future chapters – trust, community, more time spent reading/writing, choice, accountability. So, what did you think about Chapter 2? How do these core beliefs match your writing/reading block? Does the trust and choice part get you (sometimes I am so guilt of that!)? I’ve love to hear your ideas!
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