Recently I read The Book Whisperer by Donnalyn Miller. She is able to get her kids to read twenty-plus books each year, much more than I have ever hoped for. She gives excellent advice on how to avoid reading logs, books reports and the other traps that Language Arts teachers easily fall into. (Admittedly, I just gave up reading logs last year. I ashamed to admit that I used them so long)
And she gives her kids at least thirty minutes in class to read each day.
Thirty minutes each day. EACH DAY!
So here’s my issue. I have 45 minutes in my class. If I were to give my kids twenty minutes a day (and everything that I’ve read says that’s the minimum you need to make a difference), that leaves me 25 minutes for writing, reading instruction, grammar, media literacy and (if Florida’s new standards are passed) technology. Yeah, ain’t gonna happen.
I do use independent reading. Every Friday is Kicked-back Friday and students read their novels for almost the entire period. I have a fairly large class library, but since I have had kids, I haven’t had the money to spend on it. (Sorry, reading with my own two kids is just soooo much more fun.)
I value SSR or IR or whatever the new term for it may be this month. I just wonder, is one day a week worth it? If not, where do I get more time?