Can They Read?

I just finished reading an inspiring blog about reading and the easy impact one can make for our young ones.  The question I am left with, as a high school teacher, is "What can I do now?"

Many of the students I teach struggle with reading.  Not only are they deficit in skills, but they have now grown to HATE reading and anything that involves reading.  Think about that... anything that involves reading.   That would include English, Social Studies, Science, Math, Humanities, and EVERYTHING else.  Reading is everywhere, and our students who struggle with reading now hate having to read in their courses.  So, what are our options?

From the first day that I stepped into a classroom, I realized that I would have to teach my different students in different ways.  I worked from that point on to design lessons that would engage all of my students.  To that end, I played music and sang to my students, provided comics for my students, read in circle time to my HIGH schoolers,  used pictures and other images in my lessons, allowed my students to listen to oral histories, and created my own curriculum to cater to the very different learners in all of my classes over the years.

Still, I am learning that this challenge becomes more and more difficult each year as more and more students come into my classroom with that incredible hate toward the staple skill of reading, and therefore, learning.  I NEED my kids to read. More importantly, I NEED them to have the desire to read so they can have the desire to learn.  By the time they reach high school, is it too late?  I hope not.  I hope that I can still make a difference for these kids.

So, this is what I pray:
Parents will step up to the realization that it is their responsibility to introduce the love of books to their children when they are young and that an appreciation of learning should come from the home and starts on Day One!

Preschools and Daycares will introduce reading programs and will STRESS reading and the love of books to the children under their care. 

Elementary teachers and others who interact with young children will encourage reading and the love of books.

Elementary administrators will stand firm in the expectation that all students under their watch will learn to read, and they will retain those students, enrolling them in special programs, until they learn to read on the level required for movement to the next grade.

District superintendents and Boards of Education will realize that schools are about teaching and learning, NOT making money.  Adjust class sizes and provide resources so that every student has a chance.

Politicians will stop treating education as something that can be legislated and will simply provide the resources to those who actually know what education should be - the teachers!

And for the rest of us - Read!  Set good examples that reading is something that everyone could and should LOVE.  Read what you like -  Read the news.  Read a magazine.  Read the sports statistics.  Read comic books.  Read romances.  Read mysteries.  Just read!

And in my high school classroom, I will do what I can.  I will read to my students.  I will read in front of my students.  I will tell my students about what I read.  I will share with my students how much I love to read.

What else can I do?


My Lessons to Engage the Non-Readers:
The Lorax Complete Service Learning UNIT - A Reading to Teach to Learn Activity
This activity is for any age group to encourage the LOVE of reading!  It is a service learning unit in which upper grade students work with younger groups to teach the love of reading using Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.  My high school students were absolutely inspiring in completing this unit!

A Walking Tour of Florence in the Renaissance - A Centers Investigation Activity
Civil Rights Movement in Pictures - A Spiral Questioning Activity
WWI Trench Warfare Simulation - An Interactive Exercise Activity
Daily Life as a Roman - An Interactive Centers Investigation Activity
Ancient India Archeological Dig Activity - An Investigation with Artifacts
To Tell the Truth Role Cards Game - A Review Game Activity

Folktales Story Boards Assignment - A Read and Create Activity

Michele Luck