Reading Goals: What Do You Measure?

Disclaimer:  The ideas in this blog are not novel.  They are not original.  They are appropriately “sourced” where credit can be applied.  What is new / different / novel is perhaps the thinking that connects the ideas.  Research-based.ideas!  Student-centered.ideas!  Many folks KNOW this. But do the teaching practices match the teacher beliefs?

  1. Students need to read more in order to be better readers.  Volume matters. (Richard Allington)

How can students read more?

A.  Donalyn Miller – 40 book challenge

B. Book logs that keep track of books read. Compare lists over time.

C. Book lists kept by students that rate the books (scale of 1-5) and list genre.

D. Independent reading during class time followed up with time to talk about what was read.

Which ones of these have you tried and abandoned?

Did they work for awhile but then student interest seemed to wane and it seemed like students were “cheating” and recording books that they really hadn’t read?  Or perhaps books that students began to read but when the going got tough, the books were abandoned?

Did you REALLY understand the goal / purpose behind that undertaking?  Did you read the book behind the practice pushed into the classroom?  Participate in a book study?  Or did you find the pages on Pinterest or TPT and “try it” as a pilot with a high degree of skepticism.

If you went to the link above for Donalyn Miller’s 40 book challenge and read and even digested that post, you read these two paragraphs.

“The 40 Book Challenge isn’t an assignment you can simply add to outdated, ineffective teaching practices. The Book Challenge rests on the foundation of a classroom reading community built on research-based practices for engaging children with reading. Assigning a 40 Book Challenge as a way to generate grades or push children into reading in order to compete with their classmates corrupts everything I have written and said about reading. The 40 Book Challenge is meant to expand students’ reading lives, not limit or define it.

The 40 Book Challenge is a personal challenge for each student, not a contest or competition between students or classes. In every competition or contest there are winners and losers. Why would we communicate to our students that they are reading losers? For some students, reading 40 books is an impossible leap from where they start as readers, and for others, it’s not a challenge at all.”

This is just a small piece of Donalyn’s 40 book challenge.  Reading one blog, one tweet, or attending one hour long session at a conference is not enough for deep learning.  But it is enough to whet your appetite.  Your appetite for life-long learning as well as your yearning for a solution that makes sense to you, your students, and your community will grow.  Your appetite may lead to a mini action research cycle as you implement a research-based strategy in your classroom.

A week ago a friend of mine asked on Twitter:  “Does anyone have a genre chart they can share to encourage strong readers’ growth?”  And Dayna had several results immediately.

Steve shared this:

and Julieanne shared this:

I immediately drooled over both and wondered about combining them and adding

  • Quarter 1 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 2 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 3 Goal ________________
  • Quarter 4 Goal ________________

and then Steve added that his students also do this quarterly in google slides:

Why is this important?

Dayna Wells (@daywells) a principal in California asked the question. Two 5th grade teachers replied. Steve Peterson (@inside the dog) from Iowa and Julieanne Harmatz (@jarhartz) from California. Teachers collaborating online to share their practices. (And of course commercial #107 for WHY you really should have a professional Twitter account! joyful) Because if you followed them on Twitter, you would also know that they all three blog as well and you would have access to additional resources about / from each of them! (Commercial #108 for Twitter)

Relevance?  What do you measure?

Matt Renwick (@ReadByExample), a public school administrator in Wisconsin, believes that “volume” is not enough for reading goals in his January 1, 2017 post “I didn’t meet my reading goal (and is that okay?)”.  Goodreads said, “Better luck in 2017.” But his reading was rich.  And look at all the qualities that Goodreads did include in their report as compiled by Kendra Grant:

goodreads.JPG

If you go back to answer choices A, B, C, and D above, how do those match up with the goodreads list.  I think 5 of the 7 data points are easily covered.  Do you NEED 5 data points? Maybe.  Maybe not.  Do you need ALL 7 data points?  Maybe. Maybe not.  It all depends upon the ultimate goal of your independent reading.

Quantity?

Quality?

Who our students are?

Who our students might become as readers?

What’s the ultimate goal?

Is the purpose for a reading goal . . . to hold a student accountable for what they read? Or provide proof that they read and understood and (gasp) remembered a boatload of details to answer a quiz?

Or is the purpose of the reading goal to provide an opportunity to NURTURE a love for reading?  And to encourage / nudge EVERY student to become an avid reader? See “Let’s Not Kill the Love of Reading” by Dr. Tony Sinanis (@TonySinanis).

Is the purpose to make sure that the teacher is helping all students to “BECOME a reader” (Thank you, Dr. Mary Howard – @DrMaryHoward) ?

What data do you need?

The data needs to match your ultimate goal AND the needs of the students.  Are you thinking, “OK, I can keep doing what I have been doing?”

2. “Students do not need:

Programs / contests that provide extrinsic reward

Book Reports

Packets of activities”

Why are they missing?

THEY.DON’T.WORK!

Section 2 of the table of contents is included so you can see the practices that support increased student achievement.

“SECTION 2: WHY NOT? WHAT WORKS?
Why Independent Reading Matters and the Best Practices to Support It, Barbara Moss

  • Does Independent Reading Influence Student Achievement?
  • If We Know Independent Reading Is Effective, Why Don’t We Do It?
  • A New Reason for Independent Reading: The Common Core State Standards
  • What Practices Are Critical for Effective Independent Reading?
  • Why Independent Reading Matters Most for Striving Readers and English Learners
  • The Last Word: An Overview of Independent Reading Implementation by Teachers

Need more evidence?  Check out “Three Keys to Creating Successful Reading Experiences” by Pernille Ripp (1/4/2017) and  “Revisiting My One Classroom Non-Negotiable” by Christina Nosek.

YOU MUST . . .

  • stop wasting students’ time,
  • stop assigning “activities” in the name of accountability,
  • make sure that anything you ask  require students to do is that which YOU are willing to do as well in your own independent reading life.

DO YOU . . .

  • keep a log?
  • set goals?
  • reflect on your goals?
  • meet your goals?
  • discuss how you feel about your reading?
  • review the text complexity of your own reading?

Do your personal practices match your instructional practices?

You MUST utilize some “lens” or filter to sort out resources.

These are NOT all equal.  A single number is NOT a goal!

How does your goal match your purpose?  What are you REALLY measuring?

Process Goal for this Post:

Combine tweets; google docs, drawings, and slides; blog posts, books and Voxer conversations for a blog post with at least eight links for the reader to peruse and consider as they reflect upon whether their current teaching practices SUPPORT increased student reading!  (And thanks to Dayna, Steve, Julieanne, Mary, Christina, Matt, Tony, Donalyn, Debbie and Barbara for the wonderful way that their work supports each other!)

Added 1.06.17

Kylene Beers facebook post about lifetime readers!

kylene-beers-lifetime-readers

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8 responses

  1. Absolutely love this Fran. Dayna’s question and Steve’s response got me to rethink the way students check out books and reflect on them. We really have to think carefully, review and refine what we do and don’t do to help our students become readers. Thankful for the amazing people in our community. And thank you for pulling this rich information together.

    1. All I did was pull the information together to show how collaboration, thoughtfulness and intentional actions can really benefit the students. Shortcut ting the thinking and the conversations is a huge mistake because the WHY is the most important part. We don’t have have cookie cutter responses, but we do need to stand on deep knowledge so the winds of quick fixes and silver bullets don’t blow us to and fro.

      This post begged me to write!!!

  2. Fran, this is such a powerful post in many different ways. The format is amazing! There is so much information and you’ve organized and presented it in a way that is so usable. I am officially a star memeber in the Fran McVeigh fan club! (As if I wasn’t before! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Susie. There are so many teachers and administrators doing the right things for kids. They need our unwavering support and our heartfelt collective strength. They also need the rich knowledge base as back up for the nay sayers!

  3. Fran! Finally getting to read this post. What a great bunch of important QUESTIONS you pose and resources! Wow. So important that anything we’re setting out for our growing readers actually supports their becoming true readers. Getting to take some time this week for sheer pleasure reading has again brought home the importance of choice, community and a quiet place to read in creating and maintaining a healthy reading life for me. May we set systems in place that truly foster those for our students.

    1. Aren’t you glad that you started this conversation, girl???? What a great result? What’s your next question? Heads up?

      There’s no ONE right answer. EVERYONE needs choice! ❤

      1. It’s amazing what a tweet can do. Love your promotion for using twitter as a way to grow your PLN! It’s such an amazing resource and way to connect beyond the schoolhouse.

  4. […] of a portfolio of a reader / writer may appeal to some students.  But what else can be used?  (This post about reading goals had some options to […]

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