Through inquiry we get our students thinking more of the time.
We talk less, students ask more questions, relationships are vital and we use challenging and authentic resources to support inquiries.
Thinking about reading brings me to my thinking.
In a conversation with a colleague, a comment was made 'I don't have time to let them "just read" - if I don't have a reason for it then there just much time.'
Well this got me thinking, in fact I made no comment at the time but I keep going back to the comment in my mind.
If we are value reading, encouraging reading and challenging students to read then how can we not place value on the time we give students to read. Reading for pleasure is not wrong! we want students to enjoy reading, to engage with a text for the sheer pleasure of reading the book. I know it is a time juggling game in every class. 'How do we balance time for reading with everything else?'
If the learning outcome is to improve the ability to read then students need to read, and if not with pleasure I challenge why? To improve at most things you need practise as well as support, advice and more practise.
So while we teach reading using challenging authentic texts that connect to inquiry and give content and context we also need to value the time given for students to read.
One group of Grade 3's told me yesterday just being able to read is the best part of the day 'cause in this class reading is important! Naturally I thought this was great so I wanted to know more.
When I asked what they meant by 'just being able to read' they explained that having time to read the books they liked helped them.
So being me I challenged that further . . .
The first student said 'well I like reading fact books and when we can read on our own I learn so much about the things that interest me, and I can share that with my family and friends and maybe it will connect to other things in the class, and if not I can just read more to find out more.'
The second student said ' I am a slow reader because I imagine pictures in my head and create the setting and I make the voices what I think the character sounds like while I read. I imagine all sorts of things and sometimes I need the dictionary or thesaurus so I can understand the words but that is great cause I use the words later when I am writing. It helps me to make my own stories when I write.'
Finally the last boy said ' well I like the graphic novels and magazines, I like to draw and I love the pictures, for me reading is cool, I see the way they make the characters talk and I try to make books and stories like that myself. I really have to look at the pictures to know what is happening and I know that if they don't have the details in the image then the story doesn't work. I have books like this at home and some from the library, but we have cool ones in class - oh and I love sharing reading with my friends - we get really excited and sometimes we 'play' the stories later - you know outside.'
I need no more justification (not that I was looking for any) to let my students read, read for pleasure the books they want to read. My challenge is now making sure that I take the time to have the conversations about what they read and why, if they want to share with me.
At the same time we will continue to read authentic relevant connected text as we inquire our way through Grade 3, but with more confidence and belief in ourselves as readers who have a voice and are connected to reading.