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“Scholastic Reads” Podcast
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This year my struggling
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This year my struggling readers balked at the idea of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading) every night for 20 -30 minutes. In years past, they have done so initially, but they get on board eventually. Not this time, even with access to as many books as I can squeeze into my classroom, and new books coming regularly via my Amazon Prime account, I still had a core group of students in October and early November who were reading maybe 8 pages a day, maybe. I was terrified. I regularly confer with my students to discuss their book selections and with this year's resistant crop, I struggled to light that fire with that "one book" that would change everything and get them hooked. It wasn't until they asked as a group to begin class with SSR that I noticed a slight shift. My self-identified non-readers were much more willing to read in class than at home. Little by little we started having real conversations about the books they were reading. I had been so frazzled at the idea of giving up precious learning time, but the rewards we reaped together as a class doing SSR far outweighed where I was in my pacing guide. I had been reluctant because my administrator frowned upon SSR. I understood its value, but I didn't understand how powerful being among readers while you read could be. I discovered that my non-readers had no one at home who read anything. I know my population, I'm not naïve to think copies of The Wall Street Journal or The Atlantic were delivered regularly, but this was my first group of kids who had did not have access to print. Everything was on a phone or a screen of some sort, everything. Needless to say, the tide has changed. My conversations with them one on one are authentic and hilarious and they now jump in and recommend books to their peers with confidence. I'm so grateful I listened to their request and we are all the better for it.
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