novels · RESEARCH · text introductions

Reading Books in Their Entirety

I just read “Reading Fiction Whole” an opinion article in Education Week’s Teacher PD Sourcebook.  Ariel Sacks writes about the ways in which she encourages her students to read entire books.  She advocates for reading entire books and using sticky notes to reflect on the reading.  One of the many things that stood out to me as I read Sacks’ opinion piece is that she writes notes to her students and places them in a baggie with the book and the sticky notes.  While guided reading encourages text introductions of this sort, guided reading happens in elementary school.  She’s a middle school teacher.  She is providing her students with not only a text overview, but she’s providing them with a hook and a recommendation for the book they’re about to read.  What a fantastic way to invite students into the world of a particular book!

Essentially, Sacks is advocating for workshop teaching.  My fourth and fifth graders always read books in their entirety rather than snippets of books.  As Sacks knows, reading whole books is just good practice.  If the books we place in children’s hands are pieces of quality literature that are matched to their reading level, then it’s almost certain they will read the entire book!

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