I play the ukulele. The more I play the better I get and this is true of any activity and it is especially true of reading. Noted reading expert, Richard Allington, refers to this as “miles on the page.” There are many years of research and many studies that confirm the relationship between volume of reading and reading achievement. The more kids read, the better their comprehension. The more kids read, the more powerful their vocabularies. In Energizing Education we are adding close to an hour a week for kids to add to their “miles on the page.” Over the course of the school year this adds up to an extra 34 hours of reading in addition to what students do in their classrooms and at home. Another very important factor in improving reading achievement is to ensure that kids are reading books that are easy for them to read.
Lots of easy reading is critical to reading development. Easy reading helps students develop a positive attitude about reading and learning and helps them develop an identity as a “reader.” In the EE Literacy Lounge, the books that students read are carefully chosen by the site coordinator to ensure that no child who comes to read with our mentors will struggle. Finally, kids need the opportunity to talk about what they’re reading. The point of reading is to make meaning out of the words on the page and without the opportunity to talk about their reading, many children miss the link between reading and thinking, and simply become word readers. This is one of the most vital roles, among many, that our mentors play in the lives of our students. They are the caring adult who has the time to listen to what our students are thinking about the books that they read. Energizing Education provides opportunities to read, provides books that students can read successfully, and provides those caring adults who are there to listen. Finally, EE supports parent’s efforts at nurturing a love of reading through our monthly Family Nights. Added all up, these are the ingredients that will help our students become successful readers who love to read.
Asa Fleming, Energizing Education Literacy Specialist