My Quest to Developing Life-long Readers: Year Four

I was always interested in Literacy courses throughout my undergraduate classes in Education. Teaching students a love of reading was always important to me. I thought that through the Daily 5 framework my goal would be realized. Yet, in a title 1 school with a classroom full of 24 different reading levels it was a hard goal to reach. I’ve seen what has worked and what has failed. In my fourth year teaching a grade level that is a make it or break it age for reading, I have learned more than I ever thought I could.

Although my population at my current school is much different than where I started four years ago, I feel that I am finally grasping how to instill a love of reading in my students. A key concept I’ve come to know is this love has to involve more than just me. I can model, provide choice, conference and know my students reading habits inside and out, but they also have to have some outside motivation from support at home or self-directed. Instilling a self-motivation to read is the hardest task.

This year throughout parent teacher conferences, I had many parents saying their child has really “hit a turning point in reading independently.” They continue by saying “they love reading at home, they cannot put their books down, and they are excited to get and read new books.” I have been so pleased to hear all these reactions, but I am wondering what the difference is this year. How am I instilling this love so successfully this year? What am I doing different or better? I’ve compiled some key changes or improvements that are special to this year.

A big goal I have focused on when setting up expectations for the Daily 5 this year was to slow down and model every process. In doing this, we have been taking a lot of time to independent read and set goals as readers. In our discussions, students have understood the importance of building stamina in reading. I see their self-motivation in their independent reading. They are excited to talk about their books and are not abandoning books. Taking the time to individually conference with students during this time allowed me to see what was important to them in reading.


I have made sure to give my class time for independent reading almost any day. They really all enjoy this time. I have also waited to introduce written response. I think that this has really kept the importance on the reading, not the struggle to write that many students have a negative thought on. Instead of writing, students have been responding with recordings, pictures and text on SeeSaw. This has kept students motivated in their reading and given me a chance to evaluate their comprehension.

Reflecting on these successes will remind me to follow these same changes at the beginning of next year! I hope to continue these practices throughout the year. I am excited for our book clubs starting next week that will allow students to have rich conversations with authentic text.




3 thoughts on “My Quest to Developing Life-long Readers: Year Four

  1. walli1aj November 3, 2016 / 1:51 am

    I really enjoy how reflective you are as a teacher. I know many teachers who would not be able to truly answer the question, “What am I doing differently now than in my first year?” That is such an important aspect of teaching. When it comes to the reading, I really like that you don’t have the students writing responses right away. That was always the thing that turned me off of reading in class. I was an avid reader, but I hated the writing that always went along with it. Do you have any specific books you let them choose from, or can they choose anything they want? Thanks for your input!


  2. leighahall November 4, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    I know you have a wide range of readers in your classroom. It’s wonderful to hear that you give them time to read each day. Too often kids who are identified as being struggling/below grade level end up with little time to read and a lot of time focused on learning skills. They need time to read and find books they love. I get that the Daily 5 is big and has been for some time. I haven’t looked at the book in years. But, from what I recall, it’s not research based or its basis is very thin. I could be wrong, and you should double check me. But if I’m right it’s something to recognize and consider what to do.


  3. emilyraehoward November 8, 2016 / 1:59 am

    I loved reading this post! This really would have resonated with me when I was a student. Almost every time after independent reading when I was in school we had to write a response after. I would have just liked to enjoy reading my book without anything else to think about. I truly believe this would have made me enjoy reading more and be more motivated to read because it would have been a nice break from everything else going on. Instead, I was always focused on the prompt I had to write about after and not fully enjoying independent reading time. It is nice to read about how you have reflected as a teacher and are continuing to always reflect on how to help students become life-long readers. Nice post!


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