The importance of establishing a regular reading habit
Grade 7 Black Team Language Arts
Dr. Andrea Davis
Hello all and happy mid-year. I write this letter to you as a way to update you on the approach to reading this year and how you might support the literacy growth of your student at home.
What is reading workshop?
This year in Language Arts students are regularly given the opportunity to self-select a reading book from the literally hundreds that are already on the classroom shelves, from the school library, or from some other outside source. They have each been given a black and white marble-covered reading journal in which they write about their reading as well as take notes about how to engage with reading. At the front of the journal is a sheet of hot pink paper that states the directions for doing a response (unless they get other directions from me during the week). On the inside of the back cover there are two separate lists to be kept up to date by the student: one tallies the names of books and the authors as each title is completed, the other lists books “on deck” that the student wishes to read next.
Essential expectations of Reading Workshop are:
Nightly reading of at least 25 minutes This must be the book that is brought to school and back home each day. Each week your student has a reading goal for where he or she will be by the end of the week when I meet with each student to conference about his or her reading.
Please feel free to ask your student what book he or she is currently reading and what page they are on, as well as if she or he is enjoying it and would recommend it to others. You may even wish to read it yourself so you can discuss it together!
Purpose of Reading Workshop:
To grow engaged and thoughtful readers who” think of themselves as readers and are likely to keep reading in the future” (Calkins & Ehrenworth 2017). Getting adolescents to read broadly and deeply and to make reading choices that are meaningful is critical in creating able readers and thinkers.
If your student is really reading 25 minutes per night, he or she should be reading several books (depending on length and difficulty) a month.
We know that most of us like to read what we get to choose on our own. The responsibility that comes along with that choice is that the book must be read, responded to, and completed. Taking two or three months with one title can lead to boredom and eventually giving up. Young adolescents are working at figuring out what kinds of books they like and then learning how to commit to finishing that book.
Creating a reading life each day in Language Arts means we always, always read for at least some of the period (all of us), but students know they must also do this each day after school or in the evening. Please remind your student about this nightly homework assignment and thank you for your ongoing support in creating literate, engaged, and powerful middle school learners!