A master reading teacher knows that books come in all shapes and sizesMany of us are attached to an antiquated idea about what “real” books look and read like. Master teachers, however, know that books come in all shapes and sizes. Some books are long, some are short, some are printed on glossy paper, some may have more pictures than text; heck, some books may not even have complete sentences in them.
Call us crazy, but we would argue that “real” books can be anything from old road maps and glossy sales catalogues to newspapers, blogs, comic books, picture books, atlases, and cookbooks.
Like it or not, if we want to nurture a love of reading in our students, we must acknowledge that all books—no matter the shape and size—are legitimate forms of reading.
A master reading teacher knows that the length of a text is unimportant
This next point is really an extension of the previous one. Often we make the mistake of pushing struggling readers to read long, text-heavy books that only overwhelm them.A master reading teaching knows that books can still be deep without being long. Take Ezra Pound’s poem, “In a Station of the Metro.” It may be two lines, but it might as well be a novel. Dissect it. Play with it. Put it back together. Rinse and repeat.
A master reading teacher knows the importance of silent reading timeMost of us would agree that silent and sustained reading time is a critical piece of the reading instruction puzzle. Finding time for silent reading may seem challenging, but take a closer look at how you are using your time. You may be surprised by how much of the day is taken up by interruptions—you know, special deliveries, messages, forgotten lunches, notes, or quick questions from other teachers.
Train your students to always have a book out on their desk. When an interruption occurs, students should immediately begin reading.
A master teacher knows what not to say to struggling readersWe certainly have good intentions when we stop our struggling readers mid-sentence and have them repeat mispronounced words, but when we do this, we are actually doing more harm than good.
A master reading teacher knows not only what to say to struggling readers, but just as important, what not to say.
As you work with your struggling readers, you may want to avoid saying the following:
- “Stop. Reread that line”: If the error does not interfere with the meaning, let the mistake go and come back to it later.
- “Speed up” or “slow down!”: Instead, model appropriate pacing.
- “You know this word; you just read it with me earlier!”: No one intentionally makes mistakes. If the child knew the word he or she would have read it.
A master teacher uses reading exercises that mimic real-world reading practicesHave you ever had to read a scripture or poem at a wedding ceremony? If you have, chances are that you asked to review the piece before you got in front of a crowd and read it aloud. Why? Because you didn’t want to bungle it up by mispronouncing words or making silly mistakes!
Whether it be on the train, on a plane, in an airport, at a funeral, or in a coffee shop, most real-world reading happens silently. Like us, our students appreciate the opportunity to silently read a text before reading it aloud in front of their peers.
You may also be interested in one of our most popular reading resources for teachers, an infographic called Click and Clunk. It's a simple reading strategy that will teach your students to monitor and take charge of their own understanding.