Explaining Extensive Reading
I am thinking about what is involved for cultivating extensive reading beyond the classroom.
The Reading Space requires a large selection of books be available for students to choose from at their level. Here, a reading circle facilitator or tutor can make good use of graded readers (books which have been adapted from authentic texts).
Promoting ways for organizations and families to make use of a literacy classroom would include setting up a reading circle collection accessible during the sessions; because the books are kept in the actual reading space or close by for the tutors and the reading circle participants, learners have more opportunities to read and discuss the materials.
In addition to sessions that are guided, there needs to be ample chances for individual reading time, with a peer tutor reader nearby. It is important to encourage reading for pleasure to learn more about a topic. Peers and Human Library experts can engage readers and refer them to other reading materials based on interest, and encourage occasional mini-presentations by readers of the books. Also, peers and tutors can coach readers on how to find things in the library or online, and how to find information.
Reading clubs can begin with a warm-up reading period set aside for fifteen-minutes of silent reading. I would encourage a follow-up period of reading passages aloud. Vocabulary and grammar of the books that students read should not be too challenging, and should have a few new words per page. Students should not be stopping frequently because they do not understand a passage.
Reading becomes a chore if students think they have to stop and look up every word they do not understand in a dictionary. Instead of interrupting their flow, students should be encouraged to jot down the words they come across in a vocabulary notebook, and they can look them up or discuss the words with a reading circle or a tutor after they have finished reading a few pages, and then make sure to go over the passages again. The tutor can point out ways to guess the meanings of words, talk about vocabulary-building skills (suffixes and prefixes), and practice spelling and pronunciation rules.
I think it is important to have some form of reporting so that the learners feel they benefit from the activity, but not so that it is too detailed; I also think that there is room for tutor notes that are shared with the reading circle program facilitator; regular conferences between learners and tutors could also be a part of the reporting.
The passion for reading needs to be modeled by peers and tutors and the facilitator, so all are reading together in a cooperative learning community setting. In this way, they will be encouraged to read. The Reading Circle can invite teachers who can then talk in class about books that she or he has been reading, make recommendations about what to read, The activities of the Reading Circle can be then extended back to the classroom. The teachers can show their passion for books by reading aloud to their students.