Reading Better: With Less

 In Educational Leadership

A critical reading of great works of literature requires effort, determination and excellent teaching. Mortimer Adler’s publication, How To Read A Book, provides guidelines on acquiring these skills. Key to reading success, he believes, is rich and robust dialogue. And, with it, the ability to question and discuss issues of importance for family life and society more broadly.

Many schools use a strategy known as guided reading. It’s designed for students to build their reading capacity by reading and discussing books in small groups. There are generally no more than six students per group. That’s about four groups per classroom. Each group experience lasts about 20 minutes.

If schools implemented guided reading, according to the recommendations of those who have researched this approach, students in the early years of primary school (K-2) would be introduced to one new book each day. Taking interruptions into account, that’s about 180 to 200 books every year.

For four groups, teachers would have to plan between 720 and 800 reading lessons per year.

Just think how much information passes through the minds of these young children. Now consider how much is not consolidated.

Schools spend millions of dollars every year on resources to implement this reading approach. Thousands of schools compare themselves with others, based on the resources they can afford; therefore those with fewer resources are considered disadvantaged. There is a ‘must have more’ mindset connected to the teaching of reading and English.

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